P.E.I. woman 'honoured' to speak on UN disability panel in NYC

Former P.E.I. Easter Seals Ambassador Hannah MacLellan is attending a three-day conference in New York City along with delegates from across the globe.

Minister of Accessibility Carla Qualtrough will also take part

'It's going to be a great experience,' says Hannah MacLellan, of taking part in a conference on disability rights at the United Nations in New York City. (Submitted by Stephanie Drake)

A P.E.I. woman will speak on a United Nations panel on disabilities this week as part of a larger conference.

Hannah MacLellan, 20, is a former Easter Seals ambassador and will be attending the three-day conference in New York City along with delegates from across the globe.

"I feel honoured to have the opportunity," said MacLellan. "I'm very excited to meet new people and the other youth delegates from Canada. It's going to be a great experience."

MacLellan will sit on a panel Wednesday with MP and Canadian Minister of Accessibility Carla Qualtrough and other delegates from places like Sweden and Ecuador as part of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

'Like being on a ride'

Qualtrough is one of the reasons MacLellan was offered the opportunity.

MacLellan sat in the UN General Assembly to listen to opening remarks Tuesday. (Submitted by Stephanie Drake)

In April MacLellan attended an event called Daughters of the Vote that allowed young women from each federal riding from across the country to take a seat in the House of Commons.

She gave a speech there on Bill C-81, an accessibility act in Canada. The video caught the attention of the minister, and she called MacLellan to talk about the upcoming conference.

"It's like being on a ride," said MacLellan's mother Stephanie Drake, who is joining her daughter on the trip. "Just when you think the ride's going to slow down, it just ramps right back up again."

Not 'handicapped'

MacLellan will speak about her experiences as a woman and an activist living with cerebral palsy in both P.E.I. and Ottawa, where she attends Carleton University.

MacLellan, left, and her mother Stephanie Drake, travelled to New York where MacLellan is speaking Wednesday. (Submitted/Stephanie Drake)

MacLellan also works with MP Sean Casey one afternoon each week while she studies human rights and disabilities in the nation's capital.

In 2018, she worked to have the word "handicapped" removed from various pieces of P.E.I. legislation — it was replaced with phrases including "persons with a disabilities"— and also advised on a bill on accessible parking in 2016.

The Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities runs June 11 to 13.

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