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Help us end exclusion in our communities

In April, a delegation from Canada, including CACL, reported to the United Nations on Canada’s progress on implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the inclusion of Canadians with intellectual disabilities. In response, the UN issued a report that highlighted concerns about the discrimination and exclusion faced by too many people with intellectual disabilities in Canada.

Samantha Gregory, a self-advocate who self-identifies as having an intellectual disability, experienced exclusion and violence in her life. She now uses her experience to help others. Here is her story: 

"I love to be out in my community and help out at community events. I am also very passionate about self-advocacy and making sure that everyone is included. It's really important to talk about issues such as violence so that we learn the difference between right from wrong. 

The type of violence I faced was that I used to get bullied a lot in school. The bullies would pick on me, laugh at me and call me names. When I hit them and yelled at them to defend myself I would always get in trouble instead of them, so for Grades 2 to 5 I was the ‘Queen of Detention’. This made me feel so alone, isolated and hurt. I couldn't understand why certain people could be so mean to me and not feel any guilt or regret. 

When I was 23-years-old I got hired as the Youth Outreach Worker at CACL, which made me feel very excited. CACL is an organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities have better lives. The name of the project that I helped work on was called 'The Right to be Safe'. We talked about stopping violence and making it safer for people with disabilities.

Another tool that really helped me overcome being bullied was that I went to counselling to learn how to control my anger. I used to have major temper tantrums and it made almost every single day a constant challenge. 

Just because we have disabilities doesn't mean that we can't do anything and we need a chance to show that we have lots of abilities. Working with CACL and being a self-advocate helped me by sharing my story and learning that I am not alone. I hope you feel inspired by my story and have a better idea about people with disabilities." 

Samantha is a shining example of what people with intellectual disabilities can achieve with adequate support and equal opportunity to contribute their skills and abilities. However, across Canada and around the world, violence against people with intellectual disabilities remains a problem. Children with intellectual disabilities are four times more likely to experience sexual violence, while 80% of women and 55% of men with disabilities will experience violence or abuse in their lifetime.

These numbers are staggering - and CACL needs your help to change it. 

CACL works to break down the stigmas and outdated attitudes towards people with intellectual disabilities. One of CACL’s strategic priorities is to create safe and inclusive communities where people with intellectual disabilities can live good lives - free from harm, violence, abuse, neglect, and denial of opportunity. You can help do that.

Please donate to show Canadians with intellectual disabilities that they are valued and deserve equal rights, protection, and opportunities in safe and inclusive communities.

Your donation will engage Canadians in the fight to end injustice, discrimination, and exclusion. Give today so that people with intellectual disabilities, like Samantha, can live good lives on their own terms, with the same freedom, rights, and respect as everyone else. 

Sincerely,



Zuhy & Raffath Sayeed
Co-Chairs, Canadian Association for Community Living Foundation

P.S. Give today to speak out against exclusion and to help create safe and inclusive communities. Show people with intellectual disabilities that you believe in them and their futures.