Contributed by Vania Huang
This video was produced by the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship and the University of British Columbia.
Happy International Women’s Day! In celebration of women around the world and to honour the ones who have worked toward equal rights for all, we would like to introduce you to one very inspiring woman – Barb Goode. Barb is a self advocate leader and disability rights activist who had a very important role to play in the Eve Decision of 1986.
What is the Eve Decision, you ask? On October 23, 1986, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Eve, a 24-year-old woman with an intellectual disability, could not be sterilized without her consent. This decision had a profound impact on the global movement to fully recognize the rights of persons with disabilities. As you will see in the video, Barb served as the chair and spokesperson for the Consumer Advisory Committee for the Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded (now, Canadian Association for Community Living). In Barb’s memoir, The Goode Life, she recalls being the only woman on the committee for a while, which she found strange at the time. “But my eyes were opened during the case,” she goes on to say. “I found out that it also affected men. I learned from a goode friend of mine who was on the committee. He said that many men with disabilities had been sterilized without their consent as well.”
In 1992, Barbe Goode became the first person with a disability to address the United Nations General Assembly at the Thirteenth Annual Congress of the International League for Persons with a Mental Handicap, as it was then called. After the conference, she became the first self advocate to join the board of the International League of Societies for Persons with a Mental Handicap (ILSMH). Barb, you are a true inspiration and light to us all! Thank you for paving the way for more inclusive communities and spreading the message of the “People First” attitude. To anyone who has yet to read Barb’s book, we highly recommend it; you will be amazed at her remarkable life journey and humility despite all that she has accomplished.
“Canada may still have a long way to go… but some countries are way behind us in rights and equality. This is still true today… If people only get a few messages from my book, I hope that one of them is that people with disabilities need to keep working for their rights. We need more self advocates to spread the word, otherwise, I fear, we could lose the rights that we have gained over the last several decades.”
– Barb Goode, The Goode Life
To purchase a copy of this book, please email info@posAbilities.ca or call 778-945-3367.