During the month of July, we observe Disability Pride Month, in honor of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. The ADA provides civil rights protection for the disabled and prohibits discrimination based on a disability. Roughly 26% of Americans today live with a disability, whether it be mental or physical, yet there are many who still do not disclose their disability for fear of discrimination. Disability Pride Month encourages individuals to be “loud and proud” and end the stigma around living with a disability.
The term disability must be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, mental health disabilities, chronic illnesses, intellectual disabilities, hearing and vision disabilities, etc.
Invisible or visible, a disability can be something a person is born with or something they acquire at any point in their life. It is important to recognize the diversity of disability.
‘Ableism’ is a system of oppression that promotes being able bodied and able minded at any cost, often at the expense of people with disabilities.
What Causes Ableism?
- Absence of knowledge and understanding of the varied experience of disability.
- Misperceptions about the capabilities of people with disabilities
- Pity and inspiration of people with disabilities
- Cultural beliefs, stereotypes, misconceptions, and lack of accurate representation of disability
What can allies do this month?
Support disabled creators and/or organizations by listening to them and sharing their perspectives. Be an ally by showing that their experiences are important!
Follow disabled creators on social media to expand your feed. Educate yourself by reading more about the issues faced by this community and their experiences living in an ableist society. Educate yourself and get to know more about the numerous barriers faced by this community.
Making this a priority will enable one to be informed about the inequities that disproportionally impact this community, while also being equipped to advocate against these issues. Ensure your content and space are accessible. Learn more about the access needs of disabled people and how to address them. This can be accomplished by enabling captions, descriptions, high contrast, etc. Accessibility is always the first step toward inclusion.
As an agency, The Guidance Center’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee hosted an introspective discussion about the systematic barriers, derogatory attitudes, and social exclusion that the disabled community faces and shared resources to assist in dismantling and acknowledging this systematic oppression.