By Emmet Ritchie
A new Ohio Wesleyan club called Bishops for Accessibility hopes to promote awareness, education, and service for both disabled students and disability allies.
Ohio Wesleyan seniors Indigo Millisor and Sarah Smith are in the approval process of starting the university’s first disability rights and education advocacy club.
“This organization will contribute to the Ohio Wesleyan community by helping their mission towards social justice and showing its students the university’s support for the disabled community and for disability rights,” Millisor said.
After having to take a year leave from Ohio Wesleyan due to complications with their own disabilities and chronic illnesses, Millisor noticed many issues involving the treatment and rights of disabled people across the country.
Upon realizing that Ohio Wesleyan didn’t have an organization dedicated to disability advocacy and education, they reached out to Smith, and since then the duo have been working hard to bring Bishops for Accessibility to life.
“I am disabled, and in my life and the other lives of disabled people I know, I have seen so much ableism and just lack of knowledge involving disability,” Millisor said when asked why disability advocacy and education is important at Ohio Wesleyan.
“No one talks about disability and often the public avoids looking at or interacting with disabled people. They don’t teach about disabled history in school or most places.”
Payton Andisman, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion chair for the Chi Phi fraternity, shared that he was excited to see a disability advocacy club such as Bishops for Accessibility.
“I feel like disability is something that Ohio Wesleyan actually avoids discussing,” Andisman said. “They don’t educate you on how to be an active advocate or an active ally.”
Andisman feels that Bishops for Accessibility would prove beneficial for addressing these issues. The club aims to help provide both a place for allies to gain resources and education, as well as a safe space for disabled students to share their experiences and feel supported.
With over 30 students showing interest in joining the organization, Bishops for Accessibility has already found a community of supporters despite not having started official club activities yet.
It is clear that these students feel passionate about advocating for the disabled community and hope to create a more educated, supportive, and united Ohio Wesleyan campus.