Disability Pride Month
July is Disability Pride Month. This month, we remember important moments in the disability justice movement and come together as a community to destigmatize disability and advocate for accessibility and disability rights. This year, in light of the disproportionate negative impact of Covid-19 on the disabled community, it is especially important to celebrate the strength and tenacity of the disabled community and listen to stories and experiences from individuals living with disabilities.
Who is considered disabled?
People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority, representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. 26% of adults have some type of disability.
And not all disabilities are the same: some disabilities are cognitive, some are physical, some are visible, and some invisible. In his blog, disability advocate Andrew Dana Pulrang defines disability in this way: “If you have a physical or mental condition that you have to think about and plan around every day, then you are disabled.”
What is Disability Pride Month?
Disability Pride Month began following the enactment of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. ADA is an important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It guarantees that people with disabilities have the same access to opportunities. This means equal employment opportunity, accommodations such as ramps and elevators in public and commercial spaces, and nondiscrimination in state and public services for people with disabilities. The passing of ADA changed the lives of so many people and was an huge, important step towards quality and justice.
Shortly after the legislation passed, Boston threw the first ever Disability Pride Day the same month, with other major cities to follow. The first official celebration of Disability Pride Month occurred in July 2015, which also marked the 25th anniversary of the ADA.
It is a time when people with disabilities and chronic illnesses can celebrate and be proud of their disabled identity in the face of a society that often shames and is historically unjust to people who have disabilities. In 2013, Chicago’s Disability Pride Parade defined their mission as: “To change the way people think about and define ‘disability,’ to break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities, and to promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.”
According to Ping-Wing, founder of The Rolling Explorer, "Disability Pride is many things. It's a chance for disabled people to declare their inherent self-worth, something that isn't often done by individuals outside of the community. It's a chance for the disabled community to come together, uplift, and amplify one another. Perhaps most importantly, it's a time for us all to make a whole lot of noise in the fight for disability justice."
Our differences are what makes us who we are, and Disability Pride Month is all about celebrating what makes people different. Over the course of July, we will be sharing more Disability Pride content and highlighting important movements, events, and people that have contributed to disability justice.