The city’s third Disability Pride, a celebration for and of disabled people, takes place this Sunday (14 July) on Hove Lawns.
The day begins with a short parade led by Unified Rhythm, starting at 11.30am along the promenade from the British Airways i360 to the Peace Statue at Hove Lawns. Everyone is invited to join in the parade.
Celebrations continue until 6pm on Hove Lawns with live music, speakers, performances, art and numerous stalls, with entrance by the Peace Statue.
Disabled people are leading events throughout the day across the line up.
Why Disability Pride?
The celebration was the first of its kind in the UK and is named Disability Pride to link to a wider international movement. It is run by a community-based group with the aim of being all inclusive while celebrating the diversity and value of all disabled people.
The Brighton & Hove event was founded by local resident Jenny Skelton after one of her daughters suffered an incident of disability discrimination.
Jenny explained: “After a Facebook post I wrote about the discrimination went viral, 100s of disabled people wrote to me to share similar experiences, and I decided I had to do something.
“I held an open meeting and invited disabled people to tell me what they would like Disability Pride in the city to include and then got together a committee of disabled people to organise the first event in 2017.”
Last year’s celebration welcomed 3,000 disabled people and their families and friends.
Reflecting on the impact Disability Pride has made in the city, Jenny said: “I think it’s slightly easier for disabled people than it was when the first Disability Pride took place. I do think that Brighton & Hove is an accepting and inclusive city overall.
“However, there is still much to be done to combat disability discrimination, particularly with hidden disabilities. People write to me every day to tell me about their experiences.”
Disability Pride will also see the launch of new campaign hashtags #ComingOutAsDisabled and #COAD highlighting acceptance of people ‘coming out’ as disabled.
Jenny said: “Many disabled people I know have experienced discrimination in both their working lives and their day-to-day lives. People should be accepted as exactly who they are - just a natural part of human diversity.
“One in four employers have admitted they would be reluctant to employ a disabled person but, as 19% of working age people are disabled, it doesn’t bode well.
“We will have a fun but serious #ComingOutAsDisabled selfie frame at Disability Pride this year for people to use if they wish!”
Councillor Kate Knight, chair of the council’s Neighbourhoods Inclusion, Communities & Equalities committee, said: “I’m really proud that Brighton & Hove was the first Disability Pride in the UK and I’d like to thank everyone who’s played a part in making it such a success.
“It’s a fantastic way to recognise and celebrate the contribution made by the disabled community, as well as raising awareness of disability discrimination. I hope this year’s celebration proves to be the biggest and best so far.”
Brighton & Hove Buses and Community Transport will be running a free shuttle bus every 20 minutes from Brighton Station to Disability Pride. The shuttle bus will start from 9.30am from Brighton Station, with the last bus leaving Hove Lawns at 7.35pm.
You can find all you need to know about the celebrations on Disability Pride’s website.