The Self-Advocates of Semiahmoo have produced a series of short public-service announcements to highlight the importance of actions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s to remind people that “what we do affects others and we have the choice to be there for everyone in getting through this safely,” a news release issued Monday states.
Delivered by SAS members Manjeet Ghangass, Krista Milne and Alexander Magnussen, the series has been shared to YouTube in the hopes of reaching the local community, Canada and beyond.
“I think it’s important just to know that we know what’s going on, and we want to support the community and the world and we want to convey our message of stay home and don’t forget us,” Magnussen told Peace Arch News.
“Basically, don’t forget any of us, anybody, typical or not typical. Everyone includes people with disabilities.”
In We’re in this Together, Magnussen shares a reminder that “each one of us impacts our community and everyone in it.”
“If we take only what we need and help our neighbours, we’ll all be better off,” he says.
He told PAN that his own experience of grocery shopping of late has been daunting.
“When I do go to the grocery store – which is not very often because of, obviously, what’s going on – I get very nervous. I don’t want to take too much,” Magnussen said.
“Also, seeing empty shelves or semi-empty shelves, is very scary. It’s very scary to be like, OK, I better get what I need and just what I need, for other people, but also, I need to get what I need.
“A lot of people, persons with disabilities, you get paid once a month, right? So if you get paid once a month and you have to wait three weeks to get paid again to get groceries, there’s a real anxiety of, is there going to be anything left for me?”
Magnussen said he is “absolutely” seeing the same struggles amongst his friends, and hopes the videos will help increase awareness.
Ghangass touches on that aspect in two of the videos.
“When crisis hits, sometimes people with disabilities don’t have equal access to goods and services, medical care and information. Let’s make sure we are all given the same opportunity to make it through safely,” she says.
Milne reminds that some groups of people are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, “and least able to fight it.”
“If you can stay home, it’d help everyone stay safe,” she says.
Magnussen said SAS members are staying connected through Zoom, FaceTime and phone calls/texts, and said it is such connections that will get people through.
SAS is an organization with 25 active members who all identify as having a disability, who work to make changes through positive relationships.
The group has been federally recognized for its work on the Canadian Accessibility Act and for bringing beach wheelchairs to White Rock and Crescent Beach.
The latter efforts were in collaboration with the City of White Rock, Feral Boardsports and the City of Surrey.
The video series was produced with financial support from UNITI, which is a partnership of three societies, including Semiahmoo House Society. SHS supports people with disabilities and their families in Surrey and White Rock.