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  • Writer's picturePeta

International Day For People With Disabilities: There Is More To The Story

On the first episode of The I Can't Podcast this year I spoke about my major goal for 2022.

Make International Day For People With A Disability to have more impact.

I thought it was time, I told you the full story, of trying to make that goal and reality.

Connect with Peta:

Instagram: @petahooke



Episode Transcript:

Peta [00:00:02] Hello and welcome to the I Can't Stand podcast. The podcast answering your questions on what life is like when you have a disability. My name is Peta. I have cerebral palsy and I love to answer your questions. At the end of the year. I think it's quite normal to be a bit reflective on what has happened and what everyone's achieved or not achieved this year. You might remember the very first episode for this year. On the podcast, I talked about fatigue, but I also talked about my goals for the year because I wanted you guys to be in with me. To be part of. To not be too corny, but to be part of the journey of trying to get International Day for people with disability to have more impact. Now, you know, hopefully, a few episodes ago I published an episode I'm very proud of with the City of Melbourne. Go back if you haven't listened to it.

Peta [00:01:18] I'm going to be really honest. There is more to the story, and I think it's time that I fill you in. Before I go on, I just want to acknowledge and thank again the City of Melbourne, particularly Vickie Feretopoulos at the City of Melbourne for her and the greater team support in May producing a special episode of The I Can't Stand Podcast. As I said in the intro, I am super proud of what I produced, but it certainly wasn't what I intended to produce. Sitting here on January 20, 22. So to recap, if you have no idea what I'm talking about and it's more than okay that you don't at the start of the year, I decided that I was going to try and make International Day for people with disability on the 3rd of December 2022 to have more impact. So the first thing I did, and many of you might remember, I ended up having a group of you talk to me over zoom on what you guys thought we should do. I never want to assume that because I'm disabled myself, I know what's right for the entire community. So I was very keen to get that input to make sure that other people felt like they were heard. There were some great ideas and to be honest, one still sticks in my head that maybe I should have done instead. I regret not doing the 12 hour zoom or the 24 hour zoom idea. I really do think that was a cool idea. And the fact that I could have hosted the event had people jump on during those hours, whether that be people in the community, or people to entertain. I really think that was a great idea because it had a low level of barriers in regards to accessibility. The reason why I didn't go for that idea was it was going to solely live online.

Peta [00:03:45] And that was the very thing that I was trying to avoid. I was trying to make the day move away from the silos that we live in, sometimes in the disability community and go into the mainstream. Be great if I could produce some sort of piece of merchandise that could be available in a big mainstream store in Australia to celebrate the day. So that was my main idea. I sort of thought, okay, I'm going to try and produce something like a tote bag that we use when we go to the supermarket for reusable bags. Because not only would it have marketing for the day, it would have a massive impact if it got into like a target, a Kmart, a Coles and Woolworths. But of course, I'm not talented or artistic, and I didn't want it to be just about me. I didn't want people to think was me completely promoting my work. I wanted it to be about the day of The International Day for people with disability. So, therefore, I felt it was important that I get other disabled people on board to try and help me. This is where you might remember that I got Prue Stevenson on board, who is a fantastic autistic artist in the community, to design a print of some description to either go on a tote bag or something of that ilk. So I had a few meetings with Prue. She was very generous with her time. Both of us got very excited. I felt like I was going in the right direction. Everything was going quite well. I wrote so many emails. I even got professional letters physically printed and mailed copies out to all massive organisations in Australia to try and get this idea off the ground. I sent letters and emails for months and I mean months. I set a date in my calendar every week. I even used Instagram. I sent videos. I did everything I could possibly think of. While I was waiting. I'm looking at my email every 30 seconds to see if they got back to me. I'm thinking I really want to make sure. I can elevate Prue's talents. What's another way I can do that? I really try and make time to send a message of thanks and welcome to every new follower I have on Instagram. I want to flag and say, If I have ever missed you and you haven't gotten a message, I'm really sorry that that is my best practice. Through that process, I met an amazing woman named Kwinana and she had a clothing brand called Ka Bluey in Brisbane. My Plan B with Prue, myself and K Nina a t-shirt or something similar would be produced to mark the day. Unfortunately, I just couldn't make my idea work. Prue really educated me on the areas that I really don't understand. Like who owns the commercial licence of the artwork? What happens to the profits of the t-shirt if that's what we're going to produce? All those sorts of questions I had not even thought of when I was sitting in these meetings, which I know is so silly of me. I really did not have my business hat on correctly.

Peta [00:07:51] I have to say, I felt like a bit of a failure at this stage, and I was so burnt out and upset and frustrated with myself that I hadn't been able to get this off the ground yet. Plan C was to jump on my Instagram and create a reel. And ask for help. That reel was so well shared. Thank you to everyone who shared it sincerely, who commented, who tagged people, who tagged brands, who tag celebrities. It was really, really fantastic. Through that rule. I got another lead with Polish Man, the charity, and we were in talks for a number of weeks, but unfortunately, we just couldn't figure anything out with scheduling. And I'm really, really starting to panic. And mind you, all this work I'm doing for free and I'm falling behind on producing my podcasts and getting them out on time on a Tuesday. Mind you, I'm keeping all this to myself, apart from a few of my best friends who are saints for listening to me on the phone stressing and my parents, nobody else really knew what was going on. Carly Finley messaged me and asked me whether I'd be available to attend the announcement of Alter State Festival. So I thought. Perfect opportunity. There'll be lots of people in the room with disabilities. I might be able to find a way for International Day for people with disabilities to happen, and also a few guests for future episodes. So I went. And boy, am I glad I did. I met the amazing doctor, Olivia Boal. I did that old thing of just handing Olivia my business card and saying, Hey, I really have an amazing idea for International Day, for people with disability, for the City of Melbourne to be involved. After a few emails with Olivia, I was passed on to the amazing Vicky Ferrer topless, which I know many people in Melbourne. If you have a disability, know that name. She's an absolute legend and really has people with disabilities in mind in her work.

Peta [00:10:17] From there, the podcast that was produced for the day happened and I'm so happy it did. I still had not given up hope on sending all those emails to those big corporate organisations. I was scaling LinkedIn to try and see if I could contact anybody that would work for any sort of organisation that I considered to be mainstream. That also produced products of a certain value point that wouldn't alienate anyone. Because International Day for people with disability is for all people with disabilities. I certainly didn't want to exclude anyone simply by the sort of organisation I chose to work with in this particular instance. I'm going to be super honest with you. I heard back from Coles. There is a slight catch. Of course, the tote bag idea wasn't a possibility because it was so close to Christmas. International Day for people with disability is in December. If I could move it to another month, I probably would. But it's an international day. We just have to work with what we've got. When you get this sort of opportunity in front of people, that can really make a difference and I knew could make a really big impact for people with disabilities. I just had to think of another idea. So. It may take a week, but I had a really good idea in the shower just one morning and I knew it was the right thing. I could feel it in my gut. Better yet. Coles loved it. The contact that I worked with was so lovely and understanding and really understood my vision and I understood why the day was important to disabled people. Coles is quite an inclusive, disability minded organisation as it was and I really felt it was a good brand alignment for both of us. Everything was going well. It felt very last minute being so close to December. But I just pushed through and thought, if we get there, it'll be all worth it. And then I didn't hear anything. And I didn't know why. All of a sudden, I felt like maybe I wasn't professional enough. Maybe my idea just wasn't viable at the moment. And they didn't know how to tell me. Or maybe they just got busy. After all, things around Christmas are pretty hectic for big organisations like Coles and I totally understood. But I was really, really disappointed. October was a really, really rough month, waiting for an email to explain where we were. Half panicking that I was going to have to do this all very last minute while also trying to produce a podcast for the City of Melbourne at the same time. Thankfully, I can now tell you I have an answer. My contact at Coles got really unwell, unfortunately. It puts everything into perspective. If you don't have your health. Life is really difficult, so I'm happy that everybody's okay. And I'm still really hopeful that one day my idea will become a reality. At Coles.

Peta [00:14:06] I'm not going to put my outro music on this episode, I don't think, because I just want to sincerely say thank you. Thank you for listening. Whether you've listened to one or all 103 episodes, I am so grateful for the support. Without you guys. I'm just some weird lady that's sitting in her front room speaking into a microphone by herself or into her phone by herself. It doesn't work without you guys. Without you guys listening. So thank you so much. My goodness, I have some exciting things on the agenda for next year and I can't wait to take you along with me. I'm not going to say until next week because I'm actually going to go on a break. The first episode of season three. Oh, my God. Season three of the I Can't Stand podcast. Will be in early February 2023. So until then, Merry Christmas. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a safe new year and I will see you in 2023.


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