Longtime community organizer and social entrepreneur Al Etmanski talks to Am Johal about where the movement for disability justice is headed — with lived experience leading the way. Al speaks to the urgent need for a basic income for people with disabilities, and how to build up a grassroots political movement to advance social change.
Al Etmanski is also the host of an upcoming series of Below the Radar, called The Power of Disability. The series will highlight six incredible changemakers with disabilities who are also powerful advocates in the disability community. Al and Am discuss the origins of the series and the importance of shining a light on the often overlooked contributions of people with disabilities.
About Our Guest
Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, and author. He’s been a parent activist in the disability world since his daughter Liz was born.
He led the closure of institutions and segregated schools in British Columbia, and founded Canada’s first Family Support Institute. In 1989 he co-founded Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) with his wife Vickie Cammack. While at PLAN he lobbied into existence the world’s first Disability Savings Plan.
Al is a global Ashoka fellow and a member of John McKnight’s Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) network. He has received many awards for his activism including the Order of Canada and the Big Picture award from his peers in the disability movement.
Cite This Episode
Johal, Am. “Field Notes from the Disability Justice Movement — with Al Etmanski.” Below the Radar, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. Podcast audio, April 15, 2021. https://www.sfu.ca/vancity-office-community-engagement/below-the-radar-podcast/episodes/116-al-etmanski.html.
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