Speech.

My name is Tim Parnett, and I was injured in Nanaimo B.C. in 1990. My injury caused me to have to use a wheelchair and to also fight for my ability to speak well. Since my accident, it seems all I do is fight — I guess because I am a fighter. My limitations in accessibility have made me want to focus on that, improving accessibility for ALL people. After three years of communication classes, numerous Toastmasters classes, and hours of motivational speeches, I’ve tried hard to better myself as a human being. I’ve developed a “hunger” to help all people because I have felt the pain, both physically and mentally, due to the challenges of my circumstances; as a result, I created an advocacy group to assist others and to advocate for those who use wheels in their day-to-day lives. I am motivated to do this work because I have been in the position of not being able to go where an able-bodied person has the ability to go.

Inclusion means the ability for a person to get out and live their daily life. Inclusion means everyone. It’s about building a community and adapting our environment to make it accessible by everyone. Recognizing that everyone has value to add. It’s a mindset and a belief.   
Inclusion can mean addressing me, not my worker/staff, when I am ordering something to eat or paying for something. I deserve the recognition and the respect, I am the customer. 
Now, most places are accessible but not too long ago, places were not. My wheels got caught in ruts and as a result, I was in a lot of crashes that injured me and limited my wheeling. Really anything can cause me to crash like uneven floors, confined doorways or doorways that open in the wrong direction, garbage, improper snow clearing from sidewalks. Reaching can make me unstable and tip out of my chair. 
As a result of an inclusive environment, I was able to go down the bunny hill with my off-road wheelchair. If it weren’t for having that specialized equipment I wouldn’t have been able to do that. 
Our community still has a long way to go in making spaces inclusive and treating all people equally. 
I gathered all this information to share and enlighten others.

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