Wave-length Social Marketing CIC have embarked on a quest for a perception change to help people become recognised for their talents and not for their disabilities.
Benjamin was keen to lend his support and make a difference to the way people are viewed in society. Having severe dyslexia himself he is aware of how negative perceptions can limit opportunities for people with a disability.
On one of his poems, titled ‘Rong Radio Station, which is the inspiration behind the name Wave-length, Benjamin says “It is a deliberate attempt to celebrate the disability I have. He adds, “If someone offered me a chance to take away my disability I wouldn’t. It makes me who I am, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
Wave-length endeavours to change the common stereotype that people have towards disabled people and help to eradicate the ‘D’ word. The aim is for the wider society to begin to see people for their talent and not their impairment, and to signpost more people in the direction toward meaningful employment.
Often a disability stands out above ability, and Benjamin Zephaniah particularly got involved to help change this. He wants people to realise that along with a disability often comes an outstanding talent. “I have a friend who has no use of her arms, and she paints beautifully with her feet. That makes me disabled, because I can’t do that.”
Ann Johnson, Director of Wave-length, is a wheelchair user herself, and along with Benjamin she expressed similar views. “I don’t class myself as having a disability, and wouldn’t take it away if I was given the chance. It doesn’t define me but I feel it is how people help remember me and it has helped me get where I am in the business world today.”
Benjamin is now West Midland Poet Laureate, and has also recently become Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Brunel University, an amazing achievement for someone whom the education system turn it’s back on at the age of thirteen.
The renowned poet is now a huge inspiration to many, including his students, and supports Wave-length as he strongly believes in its future and what it aims to achieve for disabled people.
Interview with Benjamin Zephaniah conducted by Molly Johnson on behalf of Wave-length Sept 2011
Press release written by Molly Johnson September 2011