The Center recognizes and commemorates Disability Pride Month— a significant occasion to not only acknowledge, but also celebrate the rich tapestry of human diversity, as disability is an integral part of the human experience that nearly all of us will encounter at some point in our lives. It’s a fundamental identity that profoundly shapes how individuals perceive and interact with the world.
During this special month, we take the time to remember and reflect upon the immense strength and determination exhibited by disability activists, who have often been part of a less visible minority group. One such inspiring figure is Eunice Kennedy Shriver who founded the Special Olympics, an organization that provides sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics has grown to become a global movement, promoting inclusion, acceptance, and dignity for individuals with disabilities. Similarly, the legacy of Judith Heumann, a lifelong disability rights activist, stands as a testament to the power of advocacy in creating a more inclusive world. With key roles in various disability advocacy organizations and as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, Heumann has been instrumental in driving positive change.
Disability Pride Month originated as an annual celebration to honor the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. This landmark legislation has been pivotal in advancing the rights and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. In July 2023, the Center for Accessibility at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library hosted a series of enlightening events to commemorate the ADA and promote inclusivity. These events included “From Dr. Strange to Bridgerton: Unexpected Disability Narratives in Popular Culture,” where Tolonda Henderson, a PhD student specializing in disability, race, and young adult literature, discussed representations of disability in modern media. Additionally, the “Smart Home Exhibit” showcased cutting-edge technologies designed to enhance accessibility in daily home activities, fostering independence and inclusivity. We hope our members were able to support the work of institutions like the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library who share the resources and education required to expand our perspectives on intersectional issues like ability.
As we approach the conclusion of Disability Pride Month, it is essential to reaffirm our commitment to promoting true allyship. The journey to create a fully accessible and equitable world for individuals with both visible and invisible disabilities is ongoing. Organizations play a crucial role in ensuring that those who are differently-abled are given equal opportunities and the necessary tools to thrive, just like their able-bodied counterparts. Through fostering inclusive environments, we can empower individuals with disabilities and celebrate the richness of diversity within our communities.
For parties interested in finding out if their website is accessible to people with disabilities, you can attend this upcoming training!