History & Highlights of PLU

#PurpleLightUp started from a single tweet from PurpleSpace Founder and CEO, Kate Nash, asking what people thought of the use of purple as an emblematic colour of the disabled community and encouraging organisations to light up purple on or around 3rd December for International Day of Persons with Disabilities which celebrates the economic contribution of disabled employees.

This tweet has led to the powerful, global #PurpleLightUp movement – a movement enhancing organisations’ ability to drive, and celebrate, disability inclusion through lighting up iconic buildings purple, holding events, developing workplace policies for disabled employees and sparking conversations about disability inclusion worldwide.

#PurpleLightUp is now in its third year and during that time hundreds of organisations across dozens of countries have taken part in #PurpleLightUp. Some of our favourite highlights from #PurpleLightUp in previous years include:

  • Major organisations, such as Virgin Media, Fujitsu, OminServ, Shell, GSK, Network Rail, BAE Systems and Zurich made a public commitment to disability inclusion by taking part in our Purple Taxi Tour interviews
  • Iconic landmarks, such as Niagara Falls, Big Wheel, Vienna’s Parliament and New Scotland Yard, going purple
  • Politicians have made speeches in relation to #PurpleLightUp and disability inclusion in their parliaments
  • #PurpleLightUp trending on Twitter, with over 17,000 tweets about the movement in 2018 alone
  • Thousands of people worldwide supporting through physical and online events, workplace initiatives and commitments, support on social media and more
  • Worked with The Valuable 500 to get more businesses to commit to disability inclusion
  • In 2020, we held a 24 hour Global Broadcast across six continents, with dozens of webinars, Q&As and discussions.
  • 2021 saw #PurpleLightup have the largest purple global footprint ever with over 300 organisations taking part with more than 250 million social media followers.
  • In 2021, we witnessed the launch of our ‘Leader to Leader’ and #PurpleLightUp Case study initiatives. We heard from HSBC, GSK, Microsoft, Google and many more in over 70 Leader to Leader films. We saw through the Case Studies of organisations such as Clifford Chance, TSB, the Austrian Parliament and others how they have utilised #PurpleLightUp to leverage change from within.