Peter Park is the founder and mentor of Respecting Rights. He is well-loved and known to many as the Godfather of self-advocacy. Peter survived the institutional system and has devoted his life to human rights advocacy for people labeled with intellectual disabilities. He co-founded People First in the late 1970’s, and has traveled the world teaching others about their rights. Peter decided around 2010 that working alongside the rights lawyers at ARCH Disability Law Centre would strengthen the work of self-advocacy, and co-founded Respecting Rights.
Hi, my name is Brett and I am a Respecting Right’s peer self-advocate from Toronto who would describe myself as an open book. I first learned about Respecting Rights when I attended a Respecting Right’s workshop and participated in the Time for Change music video. I have been a member of Respecting Rights for 1 and a half years and enjoy helping people with disabilities learn about their rights.
I joined Respecting Rights because I believe that if people with disabilities know about their rights, they will be able to fight for themselves if they feel like their rights are not being respected. I think it is important for people with disabilities to learn about their rights because there may be people who don’t know about their right to make their own decisions, and they deserve to know their rights. I want everyone to know that we are all human and we all deserve equal rights.
Hi, my name is Marissa and I am a Respecting Right’s peer self-advocate member from Toronto. I have been a member of Respecting Rights for 2 years and I am passionate about the work that I do. I have a lot of experience teaching people in group homes about their rights, and I am a big believer in rights education.
I joined Respecting Rights because I want people to know that they have a voice somewhere, they just have to find it and to not be afraid to speak up. I also joined Respecting Rights because I wanted to feel like my voice was being heard. I want everyone to know that you have a strong and powerful voice somewhere, you just need a chance to be heard.
Sarah J Flint
Hi, my name is Sarah J. I am a member of the respecting rights peer self-advocate group. I live in Toronto and I’ve been volunteering with the group for a year and a half. As a member, I contributed to the time for change video.
I joined respecting rights because I’ve been part of an advocacy group and am interested in learning more and helping others. As a member of the group, I attended a Speaking Out conference and through my participation, I have learned a lot about my rights. Following the speaking out conference, I was given the opportunity to participate in the time for change video with various other advocates. These experiences have reinforced how much I want to continue working with respecting rights and continue as a volunteer peer self-advocate.
I think it is important for people with disabilities to learn about their own rights so that they know how to properly advocate for themselves in the best and easiest way possible using simple and plain language. By doing this it gives them their own voice. I believe that simple language can go a long way.
I want everyone to know that just because you have a disability does not mean that you do not have rights or a voice. Know your rights.
Hi, my name is Judy and I am a Respecting Right’s peer self-advocate member from Guelph. I would describe myself as an artist, writer, and motivational speaker. I have been a member of Respecting Rights for 6 months and would say that I have fierce integrity to disability advocacy. I became involved with Respecting Rights after I helped to make Time for Change music video. Since then, I have attended and presented at several Respecting Rights workshops as a peer-self advocate.
I joined Respecting Rights because I want to be that person who embraces values such as equal worth of all citizens, the equal right to meet their basic needs, the need to spread opportunity and the requirement that we reduce wherever possible, and eliminate unjust inequities. I believe that it is important for people with disabilities to learn about their rights because many people don’t know their rights and they can be easily discriminated against. Some people don’t know that they are being discriminated against but they feel it. Our work here is to teach and educate people that they do have a voice and they have every right no matter what to express it.
I want everyone to know that when you don’t know your rights you can be cheated, discriminated against, and at risk of losing out on money, jobs and your freedom. By knowing your rights you find freedom.
Hi there. My name is Charles Hackbarth, and I am filling in for Jessica Fields as Respecting Rights Coordinator, while she is away looking after her baby. I have worked with lots of different people in the community since 1980. When I was working at Community Living Toronto, I helped create the Self Advocates Council. I also helped them run their meetings. I have supported people in group homes, living on their own in the community, and I have worked with families to make sure they have the best supports possible. For 25 years I held art classes at Community Living Toronto, and organized art shows and art festivals for people labelled with having an intellectual disability. I am thrilled to be working at ARCH and helping people know their rights.
Jessica Field (on leave)
Jessica Field is the Community Legal Worker and Respecting Rights Coordinator at ARCH Disability Law Centre. She has been working with Respecting Rights since February 2022 and really enjoys the work that she does. Her favorite part of the job is getting to meet self-advocates from across Ontario, and working with the Respecting Rights Peer Self-Advocates to run workshops and help people labeled with an intellectual disability to learn about their legal rights