DISABILITY RIGHTS- TORONTO:
DEMONSTRATION IN SUPPORT OF DISABLED ACTIVIST THIS FRIDAY:
Molly has blogged last March on the subject of disabled rights activist Aaron Shelbourne and his dispute with the Toronto Everest Restaurant. The dispute is ongoing, and this Friday Aaron, his friends, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and the disabled rights activist group DAMN2025 will be holding a demonstration in front of the Everest Restaurant to demand an apology and assurance that the discrimination will not be repeated. Here's the skivvy from OCAP.
FRIDAY: SUPPORT DISABLED ACTIVIST BANNED FROM RESTAURANT:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8TH
DEMONSTRATION: SUPPORT DISABLED ACTIVIST BANNED FROM RESTAURANT REFUSING TO SERVE WHEELCHAIR USERS
Friday, August 8th
232 Queen St W (at John)
Support Aaron Shelbourne: demand that the Everest Restaurant publicly apologize to Aaron for banning him, drop its policy that wheelchair users are not welcome, and become physically accessible!
DAMN2025 calls for disabled people and supporters to join us on Fri Aug 8 at 11am in front of the Everest Restaurant at Queen & John,where Aaron and his supporters will publicly confront the broad systemic ableism that played out in the Everest Restaurant's repeated abuses against Aaron:
In mid-March, Aaron Shelbourne - a disability rights activist and a member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) - went to the Everest Restaurant & Lounge with one of his assistants. Mr. Shelbourne has Cerebral Palsy and uses Alternative Augmentative Communication(AAC), which involves using his eyes to communicate and the facilitation of an assistant. They had a meal, and at one point he had to use the washroom. It was not accessible and he nicked the door with his wheelchair going in.
As Mr. Shelbourne and his communication assistant were leaving the restaurant, after paying for their meals, the restaurant manager pulled Mr. Shelbourne's assistant aside and informed her that they were not welcome back. She said that the restaurant was newly renovated and "wheelchairs" aren't welcome because they cause damage.
"I am a person," says Mr. Shelbourne. "The worker at the restaurant didn't even come to tell me all of this herself but went to my assistant instead. I was angry because I am a human being and I have rights."
On March 28th, with the help of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty(OCAP) and DAMN2025, Mr. Shelbourne returned to Everest Restaurant to seek redress, to send a loud message to management, its customers and the public that people who use wheelchairs have rights and this type of treatment is discriminatory and unacceptable! Mr. Shelbourne entered Everest asking to speak with restaurant manager Karma Sanchok who had previously told him they don't serve people in wheelchairs.
Mr. Shelbourne sought a public apology from Ms. Sanchok and the restaurant, and a promise that this kind of blatant discrimination would not continue. Ms. Sanchok refused to speak or engage with Aaron in any way, speaking only to his non-wheelchair-using supporters and quickly retreating behind the counter refusing to apologize or speak directly to Mr. Shelbourne as a fellow human being. Ms. Sanchok proceeded to call the police to forcibly remove Mr. Shelbourne and his supporters from the restaurant.
This Friday, August 8th, we are asking for allies to join Aaron, DAMN2025 and OCAP as we seek to confront Everest's blatant ableism and demand a public apology and renovations to make their space accessible.
Contact DAMN 2025 at (416) 889-3037 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. **Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON M5A 1R6