On July 26, 1990, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The ADA law was a key moment for the disability community. The ADA promises that people with disabilities will not be discriminated against in any setting, which created a new era of change for human rights and justice. During the same year, in Boston, people with disabilities, caretakers, allies, and advocates gathered to host the first Disability Pride Day.
Who Celebrates Disability Pride month? Even though Disability Pride Day isn’t nationally recognized, different Disability Pride parades have been held in several locations nationwide, such as the Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County, Chicago, Philadelphia, Colorado Springs, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, New Jersey, and Columbus as well as around the world in locations such as South Korea, Norway, and the U.K. The first Disability Pride Parade in the United States was held in Chicago in 2004. In 2015, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared July Disability Pride Month in celebration of the ADA’s 25th anniversary.
Disability Pride is the concept that people with disabilities embrace their full identity, including their disabilities. Disability Pride means something different to everyone. The spectrum of disability is intersectional and diverse, so this is an enriching opportunity to reflect and learn from people with disabilities and their lived experiences.
Why is it important for people with disabilities to feel proud of their identities? Several or almost all people with disabilities experience ableism, behaviors, practices, norms, laws, and institutions that exist under the assumption people with disabilities are inherently less capable and valuable in society. Ableism leads to inaccessible and exclusive environments. Beyond their experiences with ableism and discrimination, many people are empowered by their disability and view it as an integral aspect of who they are, rather than the outdated view of disability as a flaw that should be separated from their identity.
As you celebrate Disability Pride Month, ponder how you are always supporting people with disabilities. Happy Disability Pride Month!
This post was written by Accessible Festivals’ intern Zane Landin. Zane is a Communication (Public Relations) student at Cal Poly Pomona with a passion for mental health access, disability rights, and diversity and inclusion.