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Richard Sherring doesnt let his cerebral palsy hold him down. In fact, the Local 998 (Manitoba Hydro) activist has been propelled to help others because of his experience with the disability.

In September, he attended the Disabled Peoples International (DPI) Summit in Winnipeg because I want to learn new ways of helping people with disabilities, particularly young people. He spoke to delegates about the experience of employment equity at Hydro.

Richard says his experience in the workplace, with community groups and with CUPE has empowered him to be a strong advocate for people with disabilities. I dont get angry now, he said. Instead of just looking at a wall, I want to climb it.

Richard is the co-chair of the CUPE national disabilities working group. He is active in Reaching Equality Employment Services (REES) which promotes employment of people with disabilities in Manitoba. .

The biggest obstacle to dealing with a disability is self-perception, he said. Being a CUPE member allowed me to develop the self-confidence I needed, and I want to give others the same breaks.

CUPE also helped me see that what I was dealing with in my workplace was not a just personal issue - it affected everyone, he added. And I really have to thank my local and employer for being so supportive. They really have made a difference.

Richard joined hundreds of delegates to the Winnipeg DPI world summit on Sept. 8-10. The event focused on promoting equality and diversity within DPI, highlighting the value of cultural diversity.