The following podcast is an excerpt of a discussion amongst members of People First. The participants were introduced by Caroline Gibb (EaRN Development Worker) who opened the discussion with some questions and invited the members to answer.
Caroline: Firstly, what does the word Equality mean to you?
Eddie: Like when I got my photo taken, to me it means having respect for people, getting on with them, making friends.
Brian: Having equal rights.
Fiona: Being listened to and being respected for who you are.
William: Everyone should have their own money to do what they want to do with their life.
Carrie: Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their talent and believing that no-one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or who they were born, what they believe or whether they have a disability.
Bianca: Equality is about the right to having a decent life and, when you are older, having the right to become a parent if that’s what you want. You should have the right to have that right without your parents saying “no, you can’t do that”. It’s about having the life that you want, and living your own life without people judging you and saying can’t because you’re not the same as everybody else.
Group members discuss the right to go on holiday and issues around guardianship:
Eddie: I would say that when people talk about people, you can’t judge them when you haven’t met the person. It’s about getting on well with people. Friends you’ve known for a long, long time.
Claudia: I think it’s very important to know people well. I’ve known “People First” for a long time, the people at People First get on with each other.
Caroline: You mean that People First is an important place in terms of getting equal treatment?
Claudia: Yes, I think so.
Caroline: Just on the other side of that, when we talk about Equality we also talk about Inequality, does anyone here feel that they have experienced Inequality or discrimination that they would like to talk about?
Group member: I don’t go out because sometimes when I do they think I’m drunk. I mean, I don’t drink, but they refuse to serve me.
Caroline: So you feel that’s people discriminating against you?
Member: When I go home, there’s one of my brothers, he’s not very nice, he makes a fool out of me, he’s patronising as well.
Member: It’s not nice to be making fun of people because it’s not their fault, the way they were born.
Member: You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover so why judge a person by their look? And you label jars, not people.
There is general agreement throughout the group.
Caroline: What do you think are the big issues in the City of Edinburgh at the moment?
Bianca: One thing is, the uneven pavements and sometimes the traffic can be a problem and when buses are diverted that can be a problem. And, I’m deaf and sometimes you can’t see the Green Men and if you have to hear them it’s hard.
David: There’s a lot of crime and not many police around. People want to be safe.
William: We have an awful lot of bother with ambulance sirens both morning and night, it keeps me awake.
Eddie: I’m going to talk about the traffic, people are speeding along the road and ignoring the 20 mile an hour speed limit. People want to be safe on the road but they’re not safe these days.
A discussion follows about the extension of the tram route though Leith and most people feel this would be an improvement, though some disagree.
A group discussion then follows on parking difficulties and reporting the illegal use of disabled bays.
This is followed by a lively discussion on issues including litter and the state of roads and pavements.
There is agreement in the group that the Council should consult more widely with residents of Edinburgh before they implement changes to services in the city. It is also suggested that the Council should include representatives of different groups in their meetings to help them make decisions.
The discussion winds up with Caroline thanking the group attending and participating.
The group thanks Caroline for coming to talk with them and there is a round of applause.