Why Disability Pride Month vs Disability Awareness Month?
WHAT IS DISABILITY PRIDE MONTH?
July is disability pride month!
Disability pride has been described as “accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity”
In July of 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law, increasing access and opportunity for people with disabilities in community life and employment and providing protection against discrimination.
Recognizing the signing of the ADA as a type of pride month is relatively new, New York being the first state to recognize it in July 2015. Since then Cities and states across the country have celebrated disability pride month with parades however it is not yet established at the federal level. As the world is moving towards becoming a more inclusive place the recognition of disability pride month is growing, as it should!
why DISABILITY PRIDE MONTH VS DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH
While doing some research I found an interview with a disability rights activist. She was asked “why is it disability pride, not disability awareness?” her response was “I often think of the term awareness as something that we use when we’re talking about something that we want to solve, a problem to be fixed. Disability is not a problem to be fixed, it’s a culture, it’s an identity. It’s something that so many of us celebrate.” Although it is rooted in the signing of the ADA it is not a history lesson, it’s a beautiful celebration.
THE DISABILITY FLAG'S MEANING
There is a disability pride flag, it has a black background and diagonally across the flag are five zigzag lines colored blue, yellow, white, red, and green. The diagonal lines are to represent lightning bolts and each color represents something unique about the disability community.
- The Black Field: this field is to represent the disabled people who have lost their lives due to not only their illness, but also negligence, suicide, and eugenics.
- The Lightning Bolt: the shape of the lightning bolt represents the non-lateral lives that many disabled people live, often having to adapt themselves or their physical routes to get around an inaccessible society.
- The Colors: each color on this flag represents a different aspect of disability or impairment,
Blue: mental illness.
Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
Green: sensory perception disabilities.
Red: physical disabilities.
the importance of disability pride month
Disability pride month is a way for the disabled community to celebrate who they are, and for others to better understand how they can become better allies for the disabled community. The more this pride month is celebrated and made public the closer we come to a more inclusive world. A lot of times the word “pride” is what people read and associate this with the LGBTQ+ community and while this specifically isn’t about appropriating the LGBTQ+ community they have often been intertwined, Disability Pride, much like LGBTQ+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming our visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces, and while they have some similarities the two do represent different communities.
Disability Pride continues to evolve, thanks to the hard work of disabled activists who have fought for representation and equality. Whether you are familiar with the disability justice movement or are new to thinking about what it means, a great deal of work remains to ensure that the needs of the disability community are met.
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