After deciding to start an Instagram page dedicated to fighting ableism, it took Maria Rabaino two months to build up the courage to start. One year later the 23-year-old wheelchair user has over 6,000 followers.
“I was inspired by another feminist account on Instagram to start this one. The owner of that account is disabled as well and after chatting for a while we both agreed ableism is a topic we both feel isn’t talked about enough. If it is talked about it is usually just about ableist language and mental illnesses, and while both are important there are several more things that need to be talked about as well,” Rabaino told TheFeminismProject.com.
“It took me about two months to actually build up the courage to start this account but I am so thankful to have started it. Not only do I feel more and more people are becoming aware of what ableism is but I have learned more about the disabled community, myself, and how to stick up for my community when I am out and about!”
Rabaino says more and more she has people asking what ableism is which she says proves how much more it needs to be talked about.
“[I get reactions from] non-disabled people realizing how their actions could be problematic and are glad to have been brought aware about it so they can make positive changes, which always makes me happy to know that I made a difference,” she says, adding that many of her followers also have disabilities.
“Disabled people thank me for this account and for sharing their stories of the everyday ableism they face, which reminds me how important this account is to not just me but the rest of the disabled community. There are disabled people who are unable to leave their home to raise awareness about the problems we face and this account shows them that thanks to social media they have their voice quite possibly for the very first time.”
Check out some of @fighting.ableism‘s posts here.