Verity Kett

6 Out of 10

The harrowing reality of the death toll numbers due to inaccessibility

It has been a year of having a massive Covid-19 sized target on our head.

For a lot of people, the last year has felt very tough and isolating - the whole world has struggled. But I didn't realise until I read this horrific statistic how unjust and terrifying the last year must have been for the disabled community.

‘People with learning disabilities were up to six times more likely to die from Covid-19 during the first wave of the pandemic’.

From being placed with “do not resuscitate” orders unlawfully simply because they were disabled, to being ranked low on the vaccine priority list, to the #whereistheinterpreter outrage - the injustice is rife.  We need to wake up and start advocating for our fellow human beings. Over 14.1 million people in the UK are disabled. How can we let 21% of our population be so forgotten and overlooked?

A movement is rising, Disabled comic, Rosie Jones believes disabled people’s experience of the pandemic will bring about a movement as powerful as Black Lives Matter or MeToo.

The communication barriers have been evident. For D/deaf people specifically the inability to access vital weekly Covid-19 briefings held by the government, should never have happened. Not once was a BSL interpreter present on screen for those briefings. Every other country in our ‘United Kingdom’ managed to quite simply hire an interpreter, however Britain did not. Leaving 11 million D/deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH) citizens, information-less during a time of crisis.

This lack of access to vital information for the disabled community is a driving force for Inclusive Fruit. Our work is, put simply, to create ‘content for everyone’. That is our mission and if we can make some waves on the journey, then that is a journey well taken.

I am already seeing the effects of this movement - slowly, disabled influencers, writers, poets and actors are having their say and coming to the forefront. Companies need to take accountability for the lack of thought towards the disabled community. It is time to wise up and realise that not only are they doing themselves an injustice because they are not effectively selling to 14.1 million people, but they are also stunting the course of inclusion. If your product or service is not inclusive, people simply can’t use it and are disengaged. It is a no-brainer, the disabled community are fiercely loyal.

It’s time to step up and be the driving force for inclusivity.

Artwork by Nhung Le

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