Changing Realities aims to do exactly what it says, but, it needs us: our voices, YOUR VOICE. This is what will drive the change, otherwise, it is just politicians and academics doing what they think is best for us (the lower paid and poorest in society) which is nothing different than the way it has been. The pandemic has taught us a lot and the Covid Realities project became a lifeline to so many people, not only isolated because of lockdowns, but isolated because of poverty, poor mental health and the stigma that makes us hide away.
Now, as we emerge from the pandemic we need to ensure our community evolves and looks forward. Forward to what we need, to a better society where people are treated as human beings with dignity, hence our new name. Our book launch is just the beginning, it is our reality. I wont say ‘stories’ because they aren’t stories they are our lives, our realities. We wanted our experiences documented for the world to see, for politicians to read and for academics to understand us. We don’t want people to walk in our shoes, we want them to walk beside us, listen to us and raise us up and give us the opportunities we deserve, our children deserve.
Personally, being part of a group with lived experience participants has been a true network of support and a way to develop new friendships. Being able to talk about our reality to those who get it can lift the burden, even for a short while. We are a powerhouse of voices who want better not just for ourselves but for everyone, a society of equals and we can do it together. How I view myself has changed, from living with stigma and embarrassment, to refusing to own those emotions. I have become more involved in speaking to the media and at events and you can, too. If I was told 3 years ago what I would be doing now, that I would be on the news and speaking at parliamentary events, I’d have laughed and said, “not a mission!” My confidence has grown and I would love to see more and more join with us as we shout louder and louder - enough is enough.
Click here to see how you could get involved!