I spent much of the weekend attending the International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) in Second Life, at Virtual Ability Island.
Virtual Ability: International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference 2011: http://virtualability.org/IDRAC2011.aspx
Most of the people attending were persons with disabilities (PWD), caregivers, or work in healthcare as disabilities support and advocates, or represent some combination of the above. One of the fascinating asides from the conference was looking around and seeing the diversity of ways in which individuals presented themselves, and expressed themselves.
As at all events hosted by Virtual Ability, events were presented both in voice and in text, to accommodate persons along the range of disabilities, from physical disabilities such as blindness or deafness to cognitive or learning disabilities such as dyslexia. Content provided ranged across:
– information about core services and supports made possible through disabilities rights legislation;
– interviews with disabilities advocates or support providers from a number of countries around the world about the evolution and current status of disability rights in their country;
– an overview of the recent World Health Organization World Disability Report, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention, and which countries have ratified the Convention (main page at http://www.un.org/disabilities/);
– and even in-crowd comedy performance by GrannyZo Pinion, with a conversation on the roles of the disabled in popular comedy.
One of the highpoints of the two-day event was the grand opening of their new Second Life virtual island, Independence, created to support the activities of Centers for Independent Living in virtual worlds.
Among the events, was a brief video series used to inform a broader conversation and overview of disability rights in American history.
Disability Rights and the 1960’s
Disability Rights and the 1970’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_UISVhm2Ds
Disability Rights and the 1980’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfFy26AyvGM
Disability Rights and the 1990’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op_19OK1F4U
Disability Rights and the 2000’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPWM2CpPmmg
Transcripts of the conversations (with the consent of the participants) will be forthcoming at the main conference website posted at the beginning of this article.