David Spears works for Barclays in the UK and supports the internal disability and mental health network with awareness campaigns and inclusivity events. He is also the co-founder of the Circle of Young Intrapreneurs, a movement dedicated to changing business from within.
Notable public figures pledging allegiance as activists and visible symbols of support have long been associated with successful social change, civil rights and public awareness movements.
From the rainbow flag of the LGBT movement, to the peace sign of the nuclear disarmament campaign, and the Pink Ribbon of Breast Cancer Awareness, these symbols unite huge groups of people behind common goals; and waving a flag, wearing a button, or pinning a ribbon, is a clear and public show of support for a cause or movement.
At One Young World in 2016, the actress Emma Watson publicly declared her advocacy of gender equality, Leonardo DiCaprio is a vocal supporter of the climate change movement, and Beyoncé uses her fame to drive the conversation on racial equality. But where is the famous leader advocating for equal rights and inclusion for people with disabilities? Where is the visible show of support for those that want equality for all, regardless of their abilities or disabilities?
I’m fortunate to work in a business where there is a positive culture around physical and mental health, where people with disabilities are part of an inclusive working environment, and where I have been able to create internal symbols of support for colleagues with disabilities, but my company is only one business, and I am not a famous person.
For everyone in this world to feel valuable, in work and in life, irrespective of any disability they may have, we need young leaders to get behind a movement that unites us and says ‘everyone is valuable’, but we also need an Emma Watson, Leonardo DiCaprio or Beyoncé to advocate and promote disability inclusion on a public, global stage. Are you the celebrity to stand up and put your name behind this movement?