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Why 'Image Shift'? Shifting Perception' of thoughts:
 I am trying to make a difference as small as it may be. Shifting Perception firstly requires understanding, then acceptance, then action. Let’s start in our own backyard – right here – right now . It Only Takes One to Make a Difference...
 
Jo strives to show that disability does not have to be considered unfair, that is just how it is, but it can be taken to another place of thought, where beauty can be encompassed.
Disability can be seen from two different viewpoints. As Discrimination Anger and Unfairness, OR Acceptance, Serenity and Beauty. "Image Shift” was created to inspire and show others find their sparkle as well. Even if only for one night, the effect will be long lasting. "Shifting the Perception" is not about the discrimination, but about seeing disability through different eyes of beauty and sparkle.
 
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image shift Parade video by A Crowden
imageshift.info
 A common misconception for people living with disability is that being beautiful and made glamorous is out of the question. But former Melbourne designer, Jo Blesing, who has lived with multiple sclerosis (MS) for the last 7 years  has a vision to inspire an image shift. In November 2010 Aria Ristorante, at the Air Apartments, hosted an evening inaugurating the new wave of attitudes towards the disabled and their image.  The event, sponsored by Napoleon Perdis, Toni & Guy Adelaide, and Smallacombe Real Estate amongst others, showcased a fashion parade of beauty and glamour against all odds. 
I strive to show that disability does not have to be considered unfair, that is just how it is, but it can be taken to another place of thought, where beauty can be encompassed.
  
 The choice to host a fashion parade and include Jo's support team,  carers and people with disablities, is to make a statement about the body image in the media, allowing those that may be nervous in public a chance of stepping out with their heads held high, their hands held and their bodies beautiful.
 
The combination of Jo's background of design and creativity, her desire to recreate and re-establish herself into the public eye, and obviously her experience of living with a severe disability, sparked the creation of “Image Shift”.
 
Living and working as an international designer in Melbourne, Jo has learnt the top end of dressing and presenting for success and glamour. Jo wants to impart this knowledge and inspire others that may enjoy this aspect of life.
 
 “Fake it till you make it” comes about when you move towards making a change, trusting that change will happen after you take the first few steps
 
First impressions count and the disabled are often not given the opportunity to play the beautiful role, but seem to have to take the responsibility of the political role. 
 
The one last Shift of Perception was that of making a difference, one person at a time. Joanne's aim is to be able to offer others with disabilities equipment and lifestyle as well. Jo is lucky for the support she has around to keep believing. Others don’t have this ability, so Jo's aim was to help and arrange for others a way  to make a differenceeven if small...If you can donate one item, and we can find a match for the item, what a better way to help in life! Shifting the perception of possibility. Have you seen the movie 'Pay it Forward' ?
 
The initiative for requesting donations of equipment to be made directly at this event was inspired from a website promoting 20 million wheelchairs needed for 20 million people (by Helen Edwards).  "Based on WHO statistics there are over 50,000 wheelchairs needed in PNG, Australia’s closest neighbour.  I now have a plan as to how we can help change this.  I was having doubts about what I was doing earlier this year and another sign came from somewhere, another miracle you might say" Helen was shocked to hear that in a country where aids for the disabled are meant to be provided, Jo Blesing had to wait 6 years
 
One bit of politics, from Jo herself that we believe that everyone can help to change. SHARE
 
Transport is such an issue for the disabled. When I flew to Melbourne for a day trip/appointment the week of the event, Qantas wouldn’t let me on my flight as I was in the wheelchair. I had even phoned special services the day before as is requested. I missed my appointment, as they flew me 2 hours later on a bigger plane. I ended up with 2.5 hours on the ground, and had to come back. Should Qantas care about shifting their perception? Shouldn’t it be equal for me? 
 
When I was a Qantas Club Member this treatment didn't occur (I always flew Qantas - Brazil and NZ for healing even) but I was unable to renew 2010, I did try, and even though I was informed that it shouldn't possibly happen, 3 out of 3 flights were appalling on ground service. All details in BLOG. Can Qantas offer a token Club Membership stating 'priority care'. It would solve enormous stress, embarrassing delays, embarrassing press and at a minute expense for the insignificant few severely physically disabled that are actually game to fly. For me its my only way to see my friends and retain some sort of social life, I only left Melbourne as I became ill to stay and work. please share in the BLOG. 
 
Airlines facing EU clampdown for refusing disabled people travelThe EU is under pressure to enforce equality rules on airlines as increasing numbers of disabled people, including a UN disability rights monitor, are being refused travel because they are in a wheelchair. By Bruno Waterfield, Brussels 7:16PM BST 18 April 2011
And Now there is also outrage about Access taxis not able to take the disabled at Christmas. Do we walk, stay at home? IOR do we find a way to make change? a collection of shared experiences and stories? Share on the BLOG page and I will collate.
I tried to make a booking already for this coming Christmas but was told its not possible and they didn't know when it would be.  Does someone buy me a car? read this article about relating this issue to apartheid.
 
Australia's Aparthood (revisited)
 
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.
 
Hard to dispute, these words were spoken 48 years ago by Nelson Mandela responding to charges of treason and sabotage on the first day of his trial in South Africa.  Mandela was clear that he would not tolerate white domination, any more than he would tolerate black domination.  In pursuit of his ideal, Nelson Mandela spent the next 27 years in prison - truly an exercise in patience and determination.  
 
We need to recognise that these arrangements have a lot in common with the practice of apartheid in South Africa.  Here in Australia, there is a group of people who, because of a particular characteristic (disability), are directed to special arrangements that tend to separate them from the rest of society, in housing, education, work, transport; and recreation. . As a matter of course, however well-intentioned, people living with disability have been set apart from the rest of the community. Aparthood is apartheid.
 
For many people living with disability, this enforced separateness is a prison where the bars are created by the negative attitudes of others and by inaccessible communities, and where each day's activities are about as meaningful as a prisoner breaking rocks. 
Aparthood was unacceptable, abominable and inhuman in South Africa. Why should it be regarded any less so here?  
 
At the moment, the Australian Government is putting the finishing touches to a national disability strategy, and its Productivity Commission is considering the future of disability support arrangements, as is the South Australia Social Inclusion Board.  . It is up to all of us to do what we can to ensure that the completed strategies genuinely address the underlying wrongness of our current disability support arrangements, rather than trying to patch-fix the existing system.
 
Key to this is the insistence that people living with disability enjoy equal access of opportunity, free from discrimination. It is the right thing to do. As a community we need to take action collectively.  Otherwise, like Nelson Mandela after his conviction in 1964, the Australian disability community will be breaking rocks in prison for a very long time.
 
There is a new posting at the Purple Orange blog. It explores the issue of culture change and leadership.
Robbi Williams
 
 
Let’s start in our own backyard – right here – right now -
It Only Takes One to Make a Difference...
 
  I can speak out but many others cannot.