Triple Vision

John’s Bark: We need a BOOST!

Episode Summary

"In this second podcast series on the history of advocacy in Canada, the Triple Vision team covers the years between 1974 and 1982. We were fortunate to record this episode with John Rae just before his sudden death earlier this month. In this episode, John describes almost 50 years of tireless advocacy, beginning with the formation of the “Blind Organization of Ontario with Selfhelp Tactics,” or BOOST, in 1974. John also touches on a piece of Canadiana, describing the reaction of the blind community to the arrest and sentencing of Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones in 1979. Richards was ordered to play a benefit concert for the CNIB and the reaction of the blind community was, well, mixed! Finally, John brings this episode to the point where disability was enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. “We were an organization of blind people who came together to speak for ourselves. An important part about that is that we employed what is called a mass-based approach. We didn’t just have the Chair going out and doing all of the speaking. We tried to involve everybody in developing policies and our initiatives. For many of us, being involved gave us a chance to learn skills, skills of organizing, skills of writing, skills of public speaking. We learned by doing. For many of us, that was the first opportunity we had ever had in our lives to participate in a meaningful way in decisions that effected us. And that was exciting!”"