Updated: November 21, 2022
Vancouver B.C. – The #RewriteTheRules campaign launched by BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner in October 2022 has sparked a province-wide conversation about ableism among the disabled and non-disabled communities across B.C.
Ableism is a set of unwritten rules in our society that favors the needs and experiences of non-disabled people in big and small ways every day. They show up in every aspect of our lives, from health care and education to the workplace and the built environment—and they have critical impacts on the lives of people with disabilities.
The educational and advertising campaign included murals and banners in SkyTrain stations and on bus shelters, on posters around the Lower Mainland and in libraries across the province, and on big screens greeting arrivals in the airport in Prince George. People in every region of B.C. might have seen the campaign in their social media feeds – including ads in 12 different languages or as ads on popular websites they visit online.
Photos of the campaign are available here.
Inspired by the campaign, in-person events about ableism popped up across the province from farmer’s markets in the Skeena Valley to right on the lawn of the Legislature in Victoria.
Karen Mason from Third Space Charity in Kelowna, B.C who brought the campaign to her community said, “It was a privilege to work with BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner and disability advocates across the province to brainstorm, develop, and execute this public awareness campaign on the important, but too-often forgotten issue of ableism, particularly given our organization focuses on what is largely an invisible disability and mental health. I hope this campaign sparks conversation, and action, both in our community, and across B.C.”
Meanwhile, commenters on the extensive digital and social media campaign running across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and the Google network spoke up about what issues the campaign raised for them:
- “Unwritten rules” series seems like a crash course in all the negatives that must finally be flipped… Although the numbers on the five or six unwritten rules graphics might be randomly assigned and somewhat sarcastic (?), I can easily imagine folks with disabilities would actually be able to list as many as 897 of these…”-Twitter comment by Christopher Hunt
- “What resonates most with me is this reality. The Underground World of Human Rights Complaints in Education.”- Twitter comment by Kim Block
- “Amen to this! Do you [know] that Deaf people requiring interpretation or other services for university must have a yearly hearing test to prove that they’re still deaf? No dignity in discrimination.”- LinkedIn comment from Paige Thombs
About the #RewriteTheRules campaign
Launched on October 4, 2022, and running until November 20, 2022, BCOHRC’s #RewriteTheRules campaign aimed to raise awareness about ableism and the ways people in British Columbia can address it. As the advertisements wrapped up across the province, BCOHRC will continue to support education and advocacy on the rights of people with disabilities in B.C.
To learn more about the campaign, visit https://bchumanrights.ca/rewrite-the-rules
How was the campaign created?
BCOHRC worked closely with key members of the disability community to develop #RewriteTheRules. We engaged representatives from organizations across the province, including the BC Aboriginal Network on Disability, Disability Alliance of BC, Terrace and District Community Services Society and Third Space Charity. Leaders from these organizations served on a Community Review Committee and informed the campaign by sharing their experiences living with a disability and supporting people with disabilities. They reviewed and provided feedback throughout each phase of the campaign development process. For more about our Community Review Committee, visit our website at https://bchumanrights.ca/rewrite-the-rules
To request an interview please contact Charlotte Kingston, Director, Communications, at email@example.com or 1-250-216-4534.
BCOHRC is partnering with representatives from the disability community to speak about the Office’s campaign to address ableism. Depending on availability, Commissioner Govender could be joined by either Neil Belanger (Maluu’m Amxsiwaa), the Chief Executive Officer of BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society or Salina Dewar from Disability Alliance BC.
Download our media kit for images of Commissioner Kasari Govender.
Download photos from the campaign here.
BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner exists to address the root causes of inequality, discrimination and injustice in B.C. by shifting laws, policies, practices and cultures. We do this work through education, research, advocacy, inquiry and monitoring. Learn more at: bchumanrights.ca
About the Commissioner
B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner, Kasari Govender, started her five-year term on Sept. 3, 2019. Since then, our Office has been working swiftly to build a strong team, to listen deeply to the concerns of British Columbians, to deliver education materials on our rights and responsibilities, to issue policy guidance to protect marginalized communities and to lay a human rights-based foundation for our work. As an independent officer of the Legislature, the Commissioner is uniquely positioned to ensure human rights in B.C. are protected, respected and advanced on a systemic level throughout our society.
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