My disability rights journey

Joshua Reeves

Joshua Reeves is our Campaign Supports Officer. He tells us about his journey advocating for disability rights.

Joshua Reeves pointing at something off camera

I have experienced many forms of disability discrimination. This ranged from being patted on the shoulder to being made to wheel along a paper trail to not track mud in my wheelchair. I am often forced to the front of the queue by well-intended but patronising people.

My own campaign

I got so tired of other people’s attitudes towards disability. So, I launched a campaign called Don’t Call Me Special in 2015.

The campaign aims to educate children and teachers about disability rights and the social model of disability. I want to teach children to understand that disability is just a label. Society should not look down on us or treat us differently because of our disability.

I love doing this because children are the next generation. They can help us promote true equality in the future.

My role with Leonard Cheshire

I spent several years going solo with my campaign and felt like I needed a new journey. I joined Leonard Cheshire Cymru as a Campaign Supports Officer, bringing with me a breadth of experience in campaigning. My role involves influencing politicians and local authorities around disability related issues.

Disability rights have always been a massive passion of mine since I can do whatever I like, and my disability does not stop me. I was very isolated in school, and that led me to be the campaigner I am today. 

My hopes for the future

I would love to see the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Disabled People enshrined into Welsh law. This would make sure our rights are protected following leaving the European Union.

If the Welsh Government does this, it would demonstrate their commitment to becoming a more equal Wales. It will empower disabled people and give them more control in their lives. Disabled people deserve to live meaningful and fulfilled lives free from barriers.