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Wrap-up: Activism 101 Skill Share

22 Jun 2021

Our CPActive event ‘Activism 101’ was a smaller skill share session where three prominent disability activists dropped in to share their wisdom with the CPActive community.

Grassroots campaigner Jerusha Mather, Jean Cotchin from the Every Australian Counts campaign, and Elly Desmarchelier from Women With Disabilities Australia joined us to discuss how they found their passion for activism, their experiences dealing with politicians and decision-makers, why the world needs to hear more voices with lived experience of disability.

They also shared some of their top tips on activism for everyone new to campaigning. Here are some of their words of advice:

  1. Choose your issue: “If I spent all of my activist energy on everything I cared about, I would be spending 2 seconds on every issue and completely burn myself out. So, you have to be very specific.” – Jean
  2. Find out who’s active: “You just really need to spend some time talking to people who know this issue. What have they found, what have they heard – and often there’s not one answer… there’s multiple decision-makers along the way, and it’s who influences those decision-makers that you might need to get to… we’re working on the Senate crossbench because the PM needs the crossbench to pass anything.” – Elly
  3. Put your hand up: “Don’t be afraid to jump in and put your hand up. You’re entitled to participate in this democracy. Even though it’s intimidating when it’s new, you’re totally entitled to it.” – Jean
  4. Know who you’re talking to: “I think it’s really important to find your target audience and write to them and ask them to support your cause… have discussions about your cause and how to go about changing the systems.” – Jerusha
  5. Use your tools (MP meetings, online petitions, news): “Get as many media outlets to write about your cause [as you can], have meetings with Members of Parliament to talk about your issue.” – Jerusha

Above all, all three believed in the power of people with disability telling their stories. These stories, your stories, will be the foundation of CPActive’s campaign for change. Whether it’s in education, healthcare, or the workplace, we believe Australia should be accessible and inclusive for everyone.

That’s why we want to shine a light on the experiences of people with disability and bring your stories to the world. Please, share your story with us on the CPActive website.