Wednesday, July 3, 2024

July is Disability Pride Month

This is the month where disabled people and their supporters around the world celebrate the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The first official designation of Disability Pride Month was in 2015, marking the 25th anniversary of this ground-breaking civil rights legislation.

The Disability Pride flag has five colorful diagonal stripes, representing different types of disabilities, against a black background that stands for anger and mourning about neglect and eugenics that disabled people and their allies must fight against. The red stripe represents physical disabilities; the gold strip stands for neurodiversity; the white strip for invisible and undiagnosed disabilities; blue is for emotional disabilities and mental illness; and green for sensory disabilities.

The history of the development of disability pride is a long one, founded in the middle ages and beginning in earnest with accessibility protests in the 1980s. Certainly the disability community can be justifiably proud of the accomplishments of its champions and heroes:

and many, many more folks from all around the world. You can support disability pride by learning about these heroes and educating others about their accomplishments.

Another source of pride is economic. People with disabilities, their families, and carers spend an estimated $2 trillion annually in the US. Hiring persons with disabilities can have many economic benefits. Disability-inclusive companies have 28% higher revenue than do companies that are not inclusive. Disabled employees have a higher retention rate and lower absentee rate than non disabled employees. These are statistics to be proud of.

Not (yet) disabled? You can become a disability ALLY. Those letters stand for Acknowledge, Learn, Leverage, & Yield. Disability allies start by acknowledging and respecting the different experiences and abilities everyone has. They actively learn about different types of disabilities and how they affect a person’s daily life. They promote accessibility and community inclusion by leveraging their influence. And they yield to the lived knowledge of people with disabilities when identifying and working to eliminate accessibility barriers in the community instead of making assumptions.

The American Bar Association has established a 21-day Disability Equity Habit-Building Challenge that offers collections of readings and videos on topics such as ableism, intersectionality, guardianship, healthcare equity, eugenics, and many other important topics. Check out this excellent list of resources here:

Self-advocacy is a skill any disabled person can be proud of, and best of all, it is learnable. The Ability Toolbox lists 12 self-advocacy skills that all disability heroes employ. Best of all, these skills can help anyone be the best they can be. Educate yourself, advocate for yourself and others, and find ways to celebrate Disability Pride month.

Additional Resources:

Why and How to Celebrate Disability Pride Month (the ARC)

Everything to Know About the Disability Pride Flag and Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month and the Disability Rights Movement

Disability Social History Project

Center for Disability Rights

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