July is Disability Pride Month, a time to celebrate the experiences and achievements and honor the history and struggles of the disability community. It is a group that anyone could find themselves joining at any moment in time, due to birth, illness, or accident, and yet people with disabilities have been historically marginalized, underestimated, and underserved.
July was chosen as disability pride month as it marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which passed in 1990 and was a landmark civil rights law meant to prohibit discrimination and make sure those with disabilities have the same rights and access as those without. Disability Pride Month celebrates people like Judy Heumann, the “mother of the disability rights movement” who was the first wheelchair user to teach in the state of New York and helped develop legislation to improve inclusion and access for disabled people around the world, including the ADA. Another champion, Alice Wong, is the founder of the Disability Visibility Project, which collects oral histories of people with disabilities in the US. She edited a moving book of first-person stories told by people with a wide range of disabilities called Disability Visibility.
There is so much work left to be done to fully include, and create access and equity for, the estimated 27% percent of Americans who live with disabilities, including those affecting mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, and independent living, according to the CDC. Reading (or hearing, or watching) stories about the experiences of people with disabilities can help those without to understand what barriers people with disabilities face and aim to build a society that can truly work for everyone.
To help enhance your celebration with content you can use all year long, Green America is pleased to share Disability Pride Month resources that highlight accomplishments and the justice still needed related to disability and our work with society, the economy, and the environment. We do this as a reflection of our vision: “to work for a world where all people have enough, where all communities are healthy and safe, and where the abundance of the Earth is preserved for all the generations to come.”
Together, let’s celebrate and recommit ourselves to building a just, equitable, and inclusive society.