As the votes in European Elections 2019 were being counted and first results announced on Sunday night, we could see a video of self-advocates talking about voting being played in front of the European Parliament in Brussels. And it became clear to me: These were elections like never before.
— Inclusion Europe (@InclusionEurope) May 26, 2019
Regardless of the political results, these European elections 2019 were a great moment in the history of the inclusion movement. With voters with intellectual disabilities participating for the first time in several countries and with great public visibility, this was an occasion to enjoy.
Voters in Denmark, France, Germany and Spain who were previously excluded by guardianship laws took part in the elections for the first time. And judging by the many posts on social media, they made the most of the opportunity.
Changes to electoral laws in many EU member states helped generate media interest and raise awareness of the demands of people with intellectual disabilities during the campaigning phase. There was coverage both in national and European publications. There were tweets and facebook posts by the European Union institutions’ channels sharing stories of people with intellectual disabilities.
There were candidates who pledged support to our cause and there were parties which offered their election manifesto in easy-to-read.
All of this and much more came about because of the great work the European inclusion movement has put into the campaigning:
There you were, talking to the candidates, producing easy-to-read materials about elections, helping the elections authorities when it came to accessibility.
There you were explaining what the European Parliament is doing and why the elections are important.
There you were helping us with videos, stories and materials which created a truly European feeling to the movement of people with intellectual disabilities and their families and to our participation in the elections campaigning.
These European elections were a great moment because of you!
Our work brings the voice of people with intellectual disabilities and their families where decisions about their future are made.
This has always been incredibly important. It is even more so with the Covid pandemic drastic impact on their rights and lives.
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