For seven years, Krystian Shaw has been a voice for community inclusion through his Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter.
The newsletter focuses on stories from and about people with diverse abilities, including mental-health issues. It shares inspirational stories from local and global sources to give hope to the magazine’s readers.
October is Community Inclusion Month. Every year in October, Inclusion BC joins people from across the province in celebrating inclusion, diversity and the rights and contributions of people with intellectual disabilities.
When asked what inclusion meant to him, Shaw replied: “It means being out and about in community and running a newsletter that stomps out stigma and discrimination and shares inspiring stories around disability awareness, success stories and inclusion for all — and helping to support people with diverse abilities in the disability and media field.”
Shaw has been invited to participate in a panel discussion with other self-advocates. It will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those interested in the discussion can watch live on zoom by searching “Why Self Advocacy” on Facebook and following the link on that page to register.
“I will be sharing my story around self-advocacy success and my newsletter that is free to the public,” Shaw said.
“It’s Community Inclusion Month and it’s a time to spread awareness about self-advocacy and inclusion and to promote people being included in the community.”
Shaw conceded that putting his newsletter together is hard work, but he said it is ultimately worth it because it offers support for people both locally and around the world who have different kinds of disabilities and life challenges.
“I can’t believe my newsletter has been around for seven years, since September  and has seen a lot of change,” Shaw said.
He used to hand deliver copies of the publication to libraries in Chase and Merritt, as well as to various Kamloops businesses, but the Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter is currently available only online.
Shaw hopes to be able to return to printing a physical newsletter in the future and is grateful for the work The Printing Place has done in the past, and will do in the future, to get the newsletter into people’s hands.
More information on the Kamloops Self Advocate Newsletter can be found online at selfadvocatenet.com/kamloops-self-advocate-newsletter.