Halifax man ‘gives voice’ to those living with disabilities
With a commanding voice that silenced the whir of downtown Halifax traffic on Monday morning, Will Brewer donned his official ‘town crier hat’, to address the crowd before him.
“Whereas, December 3rd has been declared by the United Nations to be the International Day for Persons with Disabilities,” Brewer read.
Officially proclaiming Dec. 3 as the International Day for Persons with Disabilities in Nova Scotia is a role Brewer feels personally connected to.
“To me, it means that I have the voice for people with disabilities,” he said.
Brewer was born with Down syndrome and has spent his life pursuing opportunities that inspire others living with disabilities to ‘find their purpose.’
“I hope that everyone can spread their voices around the community and maybe they’ll find their meaning in everyday life,” he said.
Brewer hopes to become Halifax’s next Town Crier, meaning he would be in charge of reading official proclamations on behalf of the provincial government.
His advocacy work, in particular, his input on Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act that was rolled out this fall, has inspired those around him.
“Will’s a big champion in the community for people with disabilities. In fact, I don’t think Will has a disability, he’s got nothing but abilities,” Gerry Post said, another disability advocate who also shared input on the Accessibility Act.
Kevin Murphy is the Speaker for the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. He was injured in an accident in 1985 and suffered a spinal cord injury, he’s been wheelchair-bound ever since.
WATCH: We chat with actor, poet and town crier Will Brewer about International Day of Persons with Disabilities Day
According to Murphy, Nova Scotia leads the country when it comes to disability rates.
“One-in-five Nova Scotians, has some form of disability and that’s the highest rate in Canada,” he said.
Murphy anticipates that number to increase in the coming years.
“By 2030, more than one-in-four Nova Scotians will be aged 65 and over and the number of people with disabilities will increase,” he said.
Brewer’s mother, Allison, feels more resources need to be put in place to help those living with disabilities to find employment.
“There’s not the support in the private sector or the public sector and look around, when was the last time you saw someone with Down syndrome working in a government office, for instance?” she said. “I mean it’s not completely unheard of, there are small pockets but the province really, really has to step up.”
Murphy says the Accessibility Act aims, to make all of Nova Scotia ‘completely accessible by 2030.’
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