Each year, the CSA honours and celebrates International Stuttering Awareness Day and this year we not only celebrated in person by hosting our Conference over the October 22 weekend, but we also lit up Canada in sea foam green! Some of the venues that lit up for us were: Halifax City Hall, Nova Scotia Province House, Moncton NB Downing Street, Frederickton City Hall NB, the Regina, Saskatchewan City Hall AND the beautiful Niagara Falls that we conference goers were lucky enough to see in person at 10 pm at the Falls. In addition, we requested numerous proclamations to be read in by various local governments.
The CSA also has been involved with several global initiatives!
- In solidarity with our sister organizations in Australia, UK, U.S., Israel, Ghana, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and others including the International Stuttering Association we and our members have supported an international ‘Not Just One Day Petition’ which called upon the media and entertainment industry to include those who stutter and give us a voice and a platform to be heard.
- We are also participating in another Global initiative spearheaded by Jane Powell, CEO of STAMMA in the UK. Over 70 Stuttering Associations worldwide have signed a Declaration of the Right to Stutter in a world-wide call for the ‘right to stutter’. On International Stuttering Awareness Day, instead of asking questions about how people have ‘overcome’ their stutter, we are all encouraging the media to understand that this is simply how some people talk.
We all issued press releases to the media which included the agreed to wording of the Declaration of the Right to Stutter:
Declaration of the Right to Stutter
We, the undersigned, declare that people who stutter should be accepted as having a stutter. We may, or may not, choose to find support to sound fluent or stutter less. That is our right. It is not reasonable to expect or insist that we sound fluent. We stutter. That is how we talk.
In this time of diversity, adjustment is too often not given to those who stutter, be it at work, education or using everyday services. The expectation is rather that we should strive to ‘overcome’ our stutter and speak differently. As individuals we may wish, and even try, to do so. But as a community we refute the idea that we all stop stuttering.
No organization can claim to value equality or diversity unless stuttering voices are permitted and valued. We call upon every organization and institution to work with people who stutter to make sure that all of us are given the respect every person deserves; and that space is made for us.
It is our right to speak as we do.
The CSA is hopeful that our press release to major Canadian (and some more local) media outlets were received, read and our message duly noted! We thank our dedicated and talented Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Dennis Potharst, for heading up the complete International Stuttering Awareness Day initiative again this year!
National Coordinator on behalf of the CSA Board of Directors