As we were about to print this issue, we learned of the untimely death of Mr. Javed Abidi, the global chair of Disabled Peoples’ International—the endorsing organization of this year’s Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy.
Mr. Abidi (photo) acknowledged that the disability movement at large had neglected the cause of persons affected by leprosy and made it his business to help bring leprosy into mainstream disability discourse. “In my eyes, there is no difference between a blind person, a deaf person, a wheelchair user, and a person affected by leprosy, Down’s syndrome, autism or any other disability,” he told this newsletter back in 2013. But at the same time, he urged the leprosy community to come “knocking on the door” and he put out the welcome mat.
“You have to be vocal; you have to fight for your own rights,” he said at the time. It was a message he repeated this January and is one we shall remember him by.