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A Match Made in Heaven: Controversy & Digital Advocacy

Truly there's nothing better than social media for stirring up instant controversy. Yet within the chaos, new conversations on important topics unfold. Last year, for example, when SickKids Foundation launched an ambitious new media campaign, with a goal of raising over a billion dollars (to upgrade the existing hospital with new standards of care), most people would have found it hard not to admire and feel a very powerful emotional pull while watching the video below:


Fragile Warriors Unite!


While this campaign continues to be a huge success, it hasn't been met entirely without controversy. For example, Louise Kinross, editor of BLOOM, a magazine for parents of children with disabilities, challenged the concept behind the SickKids campaign in this very insightful article.

Describing her idea of what it means to be a “fragile warrior”, Ms. Kinross asserts that parents and their kids with a disability are, in reality, very often “fierce and afraid”. At the same time, by criticizing the SickKids campaign with her depth of personal insight and no shortage of compassion, Kinross has contributed her lived experience to the complex topic of disability - the inarguable truth of what it feels like.

Soon after the launch, the folks at Sick Kids hospital became aware they had struck a nerve, so to speak. They deserve kudos for this thoughtful response acknowledging the controversy and clarifying their beliefs and intentions.  


Speaking Up Loud and Clear


Best of all, though, is hearing directly from individuals who live with a disability. Today, advocates and allies of every age, gender, race and culture across the planet are speaking up loud and clear about who they are and what annoys them about how they are perceived, often in admirably direct, humorous and highly creative ways.


The Control of the Conversation has Forever Shifted


With digital media platforms giving voice to individuals once traditionally shut out of the very conversations purported to help them 'manage' their own lives, the control of the conversation has forever shifted. This is a welcome sign of real social progress, with the potential to lead to healthier, happier and more inclusive communities.

 

 
Check out some of these awesome videos for more first-person perspectives on disability.

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