On October 5, more than 100 disabled persons, friends and allies came to show their pride and determination to reclaim the city, and to bring attention to the barriers they face.
Using their bodies and their voices as a tool for resistance and defiance, they marched from Queen’s Park to the Ryerson School of Disability Studies, completing the third annual Toronto Disability Pride March. Each year the participation of marchers increasingly represent the cross-disability and the cross-identities that reflects the people who live in Toronto, part of a global disability movement.
For many, this was their first time joining the march and were pleasantly surprised to have found out about this event and felt compelled to join because ‘there was nothing like this in the city”; others related to the message posted on various social media outlets; and others came to represent a loved one who could not make it.
A proud couple marched with their child, who also joined the march in a big-wheeled stroller, to create memories and to find community. Students from various Universities (York, U of T, Ryerson) came in solidarity and to raise their concern on the growing number of students who deal with stress, anxiety and depression and the lack of response from the Administration to implement services or improve them.
Parents with their children, social justice activists, university professors, ODSP and OW recipients; they all came, held signs, met one another, listened to the various speakers and found echo in their words. Participants denounced the constant and systemic exclusion of disabled people from the decisions that matter: housing, accessibility supports, accommodations, respect, our need to fulfill our basic needs and basic human rights.
One of the banners read “We march with no funds” and yet the solidarity of the participants was patent as some contributed with buttons or coffee, and others shared their time and their words. Words written in banners, large and small; words spoken out loud through megaphones; words chanted in unison calling out for justice were heard by all those gathered in front of Queen’s Park and along the streets of the city.
The marchers arrived at Ryerson, where Professor E. Ignagni welcomed the crowed. A few people stayed to share a snack and chat.