July 7, 2022
July is Disability Pride Month, a time to reflect on the history of disability rights as well as to spread more awareness.
History of Disability Pride Month
On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. This law ensures that people with disabilities have equal rights when it comes to issues including job employment, accommodations, access to governmental services, and much more by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. That same year, the first Disability Pride Day was celebrated in Boston, Massachusetts. The first Disability Pride Parade in the United States occurred in 2004 in Chicago, Illinois.
Importance of Disability Pride
Historically, people with disabilities have been shut out of certain spaces and been made to feel that their disability is a negative feature of themselves. Disability Pride exists to demonstrate that having a disability is something that people should be proud of, not something they should feel that they have to try to hide from the world.
Disability representation is still lower than it should be, but has been increasing in recent years. When people are able to see a reflection of themselves in the media and in the world around them, it gives the sense of belonging that every person should feel in society. Disability Pride Month works to convey this idea and create a space for members of the disability community to come together and amplify their voices. Bringing more awareness to these stories will help to break down the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding disabilities, something that is long overdue.
The celebrations that occur during this month also seek to portray the beauty in the diversity of disability. Disabilities do not come in one shape and size, so each person’s story is unique and offers a new perspective. Even though every person with a disability has a different journey, Disability Pride Month helps them all come together with the common goal of celebrating their identities.
Disability Pride Flag
The Disability Pride flag carries a large amount of symbolism. The black background commemorates anyone with disabilities who has passed away, whether as a result of their illness, mental health struggles, or ableism. The parallelism in the 5 stripes illustrates community and solidarity. Each color in the flag also has a meaning; blue, for mental illness; yellow, for cognitive disability; white, for invisible or undiagnosed disabilities; red, for physical disability; and green, for sensory disability.