This year, Google ushers in the festive season by doing more than just lighting up Christmas trees; they also lighting up the iconic KICC building purple, to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This is part of a global movement dubbed #PurpleLightUp that kicked off on Twitter. The idea is for participating organisations across the world to celebrate the contribution of persons with disabilities in the workplace, by lighting certain buildings purple.
The day is aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with any form of disability. The event comes after Google joined PurpleSpace, a global movement that celebrates and draws attention to the economic contribution of the 386 million disabled employees around the world.
Speaking at the event hosted by Google at the KICC, the Chief Guests, Prof. Margaret Kobia, the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender and Mr. Harun Hassan, the Executive Director of the National Council for Persons With Disabilities, recognised the need for more conversations around diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
“Disability inclusion means, making sure everybody, and especially persons with disabilities who have suffered discrimination and marginalization, have equal opportunities. All that is needed to create such a world is solidarity, allyship and inclusion”. Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for Public Service and Gender.
“Today, let us heed the call of the #PurpleLightUp campaign to celebrate the social and economic contribution of persons with disabilities and use this occasion to engage in conversations and actions that drive disability inclusion in Kenya” – Mr. Harun Hassan, Executive Director, National Council for Persons With Disabilities.
Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, said Google is pleased to join the movement in order to raise awareness of the unique value of the disabled community, empowering people to be more and more inclusive.
“As a company, we are committed to continuing to make diversity, equity, and inclusion part of everything we do—from how we build our products to how we build our workforce. In the past few years, we’ve doubled in size—today, we have more than 100,000 employees in 170 cities spanning nearly 60 countries. As we continue to grow, we have a responsibility to scale our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to increase pathways to tech in the communities we call home. “added Agnes.
Mariam Abdullahi, Lead of the Disability Alliance in Google Africa, said, “We care deeply about making our organisation a place where people of all abilities can learn, grow and have an impact. The aim is to drive conversation around diversity and inclusion by building awareness at all levels.
Since 2017, #PurpleLightUp has been driving momentum for disability inclusion with initiatives that span from hosting employee events and workshops to lighting up iconic buildings purple, from developing new workplace policies to sparking conversations about disability inclusion.
According to the World Health Organization, over one billion people worldwide have some form of disability, translating to one in seven people. Many of those disabilities are invisible, while others can affect any of us at any time in our lives.