Today while surfing for the daily news I came across Disability Pride Month. I was amazed by my ignorance of not knowing about an important event on disability as the Disability Pride Month. I have been writing on disability for quite some time now and I am so passionate about the subject that I want to know it all. But I think I have a long way to go in this journey of understanding it. So, have you heard of disability pride month? I didn’t know about the celebration of inclusivity until yesterday. The event has a humongous history deriving back to 1990.
So, what is this article about? Yes, you guessed it right. In this article, I will walk you through the journey of this massive celebration and how and when it began. The laws and where it is celebrated and how the people are celebrating it this year.
Just like the month June talks about the self-love and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, Disability pride month is about acceptance and inclusivity. Sadly, the celebration hasn’t reached the shores of the Indian territory but we need to recognise and indulge in the celebration of disability pride month.
So, What is Disability Pride?
Person of Disabilities accounts for the largest and most diverse minority group representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds in the US and worldwide. Disability pride month is a celebration of accepting and esteeming a person’s uniqueness. Disability pride is perceived as a crucial part of a “movement-building and a direct challenge of systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.”
It is rightly said that disability is more than the pills, the wheelchair or the aid, it is a part of the person. However, disability is not somebody’s whole identity, you can be a lot of other things that define your being. You can be all the things you want to be. The thing that needs awareness and knocking is the fickle mindedness of the people towards the persons of disabilities that overlooks the potential and restricts it to just what the eyes can see.
Historical Purview of the Disability Pride Month
It all started with the founding of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26, 1990. The document was the “world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. It was a collaborative effort of Democrats, Republicans, the legislative and the executive branches, federal and state agencies, and people with and without disabilities.”
The first disability pride parade took place the same year in Boston, Massachusetts. It again took place in 1991 but it came to an end when lead organizer Diana Viets died. It took thirteen years to revive the parade again which took place in Chicago, Illinois which around 2000 people attended, exceeding everyone’s expectations and making the event a huge relaunch.
As the awareness soars, communities become better allies, towards the long journey each step counts. Disability Pride Parades had been organised in a few cities across the United States and even in Brighton, UK. In 2015, de Blasio, New York City Mayor declared July Disability Pride Month in NYC to celebrate ADA’s 25th Anniversary. However, the community awaits it to be declared nationally, nevertheless, the disabled community has adopted New York City’s declaration.
Hence, July marks the month of uplifting one another for their uniqueness and amplifying each other’s stories.
Aware, Educate: Disability Pride Month
Be in India, or the US, the state of affairs and challenges born by a person with disabilities are viewed with a stigmatised lens. The hostile behaviour, the astigmatic perspective, the persevered prejudice towards people with disabilities can be astonishingly damaging to their self-esteem and mental health. Awareness events like Disability Pride Month call for an inclusive world.
The US citizen takes up the street and social media to raise awareness about the injustice towards the disabled community. According to the WHO, 15% of the world’s population identify as disabled. At least one-third of all police killings are steered towards disabled Americans, according to a news report. Apart from that, society perceives the disabled community as lesser humans or unequal and is antagonistic towards the violent as well as a sexual crime towards them.
I have always believed that no community’s pride or celebration should be limited to a day or month, but it is crucial to make small changes towards change. It’s high time we realise that it is not just a person with the disabled community to celebrate who they are, but also you to support and become a better ally to the disabled community. Their voice must be heard as much as yours.