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The Paralympic buzz needs to be a vehicle for championing equality

Aspiring film producer Sam Oldknow, 24, says this summer’s Paralympics need to show people the importance of inclusion.

Fantastic opportunity

The pandemic is a fantastic opportunity to go in the right direction, and build on this momentum, rather than go backwards. The building blocks are there.

Young man in a black jacket with brown hair and glasses
In one way, the pandemic has given disabled people a chance to be on an equal footing, such as being given the opportunity to work from home. I want to be a film producer. Recently I was able to interview the director of a documentary I loved. If we hadn’t started embracing platforms like Teams and Zoom to communicate with each other, those opportunities would have been harder to get hold of.

On the other hand, disabled people are seen as more vulnerable in terms of government language and the parameters set out with priority for the vaccination.

5 minutes of fame isn’t enough

It seems that, with representation, some big cultural event or news story relating to disability means disabled people get their 5 minutes of fame.

In the future I want to see disabled people shown in the media more in everyday situations, where a non-disabled person can relate to it too.

I’m hoping we get more of that leading up to the Paralympics. It’s time we use the Paralympics and Olympics to diversify representation on and off screen.

The extra media attention around the Paralympics needs to be used as a real vehicle for championing equality.

Changing perceptions is up to everyone

The onus shouldn’t be on minority groups to change public perceptions. It’s up to everyone to change society’s norms.

To me, my disability has never made me wonder what I am going to do with my life. Being disabled is a positive with me. I have uncovered so many possibilities.

The opportunities for disabled people to succeed are out there.

It’s about using the Paralympics and the extra media attention to help people understand the importance of inclusion.

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