My name is Nicole Canzoneri. I’m 20 years old and have been involved with the Re: Action4Inclucison movement since 2017 in a variety of ways. Currently, I have been working alongside Emily Branje and many others in the creation and production of an educational documentary-style video highlighting the realities and truths of institutionalization in Canada. The Truths of Institutionalization is not only a video to watch, but an educational toolkit to support high school-age students in learning more about the past and current systems of mistreatment towards people with disabilities in Canada.
The Truths of Institutionalization is so much more to me than just another project. From working on the curriculum portion alongside my peers, to the filming and listening to survivor stories, I have learned so much and felt so many emotions. By getting to go onsite to now closed institutions, visiting gravesites of those who did not survive and listening to survivor stories, I have learned about the true horrors that occurred in institutions and the lasting trauma they have caused to survivors.
Another aspect of the project is meeting with experts in the areas of disability studies, education, and inclusion as well as many life-long advocates. I have learned a lot through advocates and experts on just how extensive the reach of institutionalism could look like. When examining our current Canadian systems of care and education for people with disabilities, they are eerily similar to the beliefs and ideologies that created the institutional system. I am encouraged that this project will help educate and eradicate some of the misbeliefs and prejudices in the younger generations.
Overall, this project has been an amazing learning experience that has ignited a fire in me. Survivor stories, expert opinions and listening to powerful advocates inspire me to continue fighting for inclusion and equity. I am honoured to be a part of such a project and look forward to sharing it with the world!