Don’t Call Me Special
1012. Joshua Reeves
Joshua Reeves, aged 20, from Cardiff, is a disability rights activist who launched the ‘Don’t Call Me Special’ campaign to share the belief that his disability does not define him.
Drawing on his own experience as a wheelchair user, Joshua visits primary schools to help children understand discrimination and that people with disabilities are the same as everyone else. Joshua has taken the campaign globally with the ‘Commonwealth Youth Council’ to address the marginalisation of people with disabilities in the Commonwealth’s 52 countries. Visiting Antigua, Joshua taught young children and adults about disability rights and awareness and his work was commended by the Antiguan High Commissioner, Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill.
In a personal letter to Joshua, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Your ‘Don’t Call Me Special’ campaign is educating young people and sharing the important message that disability does not define a person. You should be incredibly proud of working with the Commonwealth Youth Council to take this work global and campaign for disability rights around the world.”
Lisa Oliver, Speaker Network Coordinator at ‘Leonard Cheshire’, one of the charities Joshua supports, said:
“Josh is dedicated to creating change. He’s always keen to add his voice and experiences to our campaigns to help improve the lives of disabled people in the UK. As one our charity’s official spokespersons, he’s also spoken at several cub and scout groups to raise awareness of disability related issues. This is as well as his YouTube content, which he has created to support disability transport campaigns, promote accessible gyms and raise awareness of invisible disabilities.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Josh, as I’ve had the chance to see first-hand the impact he makes on individuals – with his audience having a greater understanding of both disability issues and rights. He has a real passion for educating others. Myself and everyone else at ‘Leonard Cheshire’ is immensely proud that he’s got the recognition he truly deserves. Congratulations from all at ‘Leonard Cheshire’!”
“I’m honoured to receive an award like this. I didn’t think my campaign would became this successful, as it just started as dream to change people’s perspectives on people with disabilities and spread awareness that no one is special.”
Watch Joshua receive his Points of Light award: