Sparking the #PurpleLightUp

Sparking the #PurpleLightUp

In July 2017 I sent out a personal tweet asking what people thought about using the colour purple as one way of symbolising the experience of disability – and to encourage organisations to create a #PurpleLightUp on or around the 3rd December each year to link in with International Day of Persons with Disabilities #IDPD.

Just as the rainbow flag has created real change as it rallies an increasingly vibrant LGBT movement – just as it symbolically unites people from every sector of society – just as it shows that prejudice can be positively challenged by building communities from a banner of colours that inspire hope – so too is purple inspiring a new grass-roots movement into the reality of what it means to be human.

Disabled employees want to build on this unity through the purple symbolism. Employee networks and resource groups are already using the purple brand to create new conversations and together with our champions and allies, focus on the added value that disabled people bring to the economy as consumers and employees

I want disabled people to use the power of their networks and resource groups, with their champions and allies to help forge a global identity; one that puts the positive contribution of disabled people and their networks in spotlight.

We could never have anticipated such a positive response and in 2017 many employers and thousands of individuals took part across the globe.

  • 56 organisations across 66 countries recognised #PurpleLightUp and used the colour purple to build community around #IDPD
  • The support spanned individuals and organisations in countries such as Australia, Croatia, Peru, Singapore, UK and US and beyond
  • 355,275 people were reached through a social media Thunderclap
  • #PurpleLightUp trended on Twitter with in excess of 133,000 impressions.

These are just some of the ways that employees and organisations showed their support:

  • Buildings were illuminated
  • Flags were flown
  • Employees resource guides for allies and senior champions where launched
  • Our personal stories elevated a positive narrative
  • Shoes, ties and socks went purple.....and dogs wore bows!

And that's how the largest global movement celebrating the economic contribution by and for disabled employees was created from a simple tweet.

Kate Nash OBE, PurpleSpace creator & CEO