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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

WIPR launches campaign to raise awareness around people with disabilities

The creators of the “We Are All Able” visual media campaign seek to have entities and media outlets share, through their networks and channels, depictions of people with and without disabilities engaging in the same activities to expand awareness efforts.

By Richard Gutiérrez

Disability is a complex and often emotional topic filled with various and specific situations. However, one thing is certain: many members of the disabled community don’t feel included in society.

That’s why the multi-platform project Unknown Reality launched its new ad campaign with the slogan “We Are All Able,” with the purpose of showing off everything disabled people can achieve. The campaign was made possible thanks to the support of CG Strategic Brand Activation. On top of that, the first online reference center was also presented with a live directory of entities that offer services to the disabled population. The entire kickoff was presented via a press conference at WIPR and was televised as well.

In December 2020, Unknown Reality began as a radio show on WIPR 940 AM, as a way of expanding the existing vision of disability in a positive way. The We Are All Able campaign supports this mission, showing comparisons of people with and without disabilities engaging in the same activities in different ways or using different tools.

“The world is more interested in inclusion, but to achieve it we need to really know people with disabilities, their abilities and ways of doing things, even if it is in different ways,” said Shalmarie Arroyo, founder of the Unknown Reality project.

The creators of the campaign seek to have entities and media outlets share the executions through their networks and channels to expand awareness efforts. The campaign exposes two initial stories: the first presents the athlete Yaimillie Díaz, a young woman who uses a prosthesis on one of her legs. In the second execution we see the case of a communicator, Arroyo, who is blind and uses tools such as a talking screen reader on her computer to read her notes and work.

Arroyo also pointed out that “the reference center was developed as a meeting point for people to learn about disability.”

The website will have a directory of resources that work in favor of the disabled community.

Throughout the press conference, Arroyo shared her story and experiences as a person with disabilities. She was not born blind, but in fact lost her sight as a little girl when she was in a car accident. However, she was able to overcome the hardships of her new reality and become a professional over time after attending Boston University. She is also happily married and the mother of a five-year-old.

“The turning point in my life happened in 2019, when I was officially integrated into Advocacy for People with Disabilities of Puerto Rico,” Arroyo said. “I was president of the council and I was able to learn many things. The people there taught me something very important, that it doesn’t matter how many differences we may have -- we all shared many challenges in common.”

“In Puerto Rico, 21% of the population has some sort of disability,” she continued. “That is a lot of people -- nearly one-fourth of the population. That is very important, because even if one of us doesn’t have a disability, we most certainly know someone who does.”

“Life isn’t over just because you have a disability. You will still be able to enjoy life and have plenty of adventures,” Arroyo said. “However, even after you’ve become successful, there are a plethora of barriers placed by society.

“Our purpose with this campaign is to widen the perspective of people with disabilities from a positive standpoint. The platform is not just for people with disabilities, it’s for everyone who wants to learn more about people with disabilities and help them understand who we really are.”

Participating in the event were prominent island figures such as Advocate for People with Disabilities Juan J. Troche Villeneuve and Dr. Maribel Ortiz, executive director of the Office of Protection and Defense of People with Disabilities.

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