Disability Pride Month is Here Again!

Blog: Disability Pride 2024

Every July, we celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 – landmark legislation that significantly expanded opportunities and improved life circumstances for millions of disabled people in the United States.

Despite the ADA, disabled people still face obstacles that prevent their full inclusion in American society. Disability Pride Month is a time for honoring disabled individuals and their accomplishments; raising awareness about the obstacles they still face and advocating for their full inclusion.

This year’s Disability Pride Month theme is “We Want a Life Like Yours.” The theme was chosen by The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates and “reflects the disability community’s dreams for life experiences that they are too often denied.”

Want to help disabled individuals have the lives they deserve? Here are some ways that you can get involved in the disability pride movement.

1. Read about the history of disability rights in America
Until recently, disability history was mostly overlooked. This was in spite of the fact that disabled people have always existed and make up approximately 25 % of the population. As we discussed in our April 30 blogpost, disability history is finally getting some attention. For example, in 2018, Massachusetts’s social studies and history curriculums were updated to include lessons about the movement for disability rights and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education now provides a video resource, The Great Fight for Disability Rights to teachers who request it. You can learn more about disability history by visiting the websites of Emerging America, United Cerebral Palsy, or The Arc; reading books like “A Disability History of the United States” (Beacon Press) by Kim E. Nielson; “Demystifying Disability” (Ten Speed Press) by Emily Ladau, and “Disability Visibility” (Vintage) edited by Alice Wong.

2. Watch films about the disability experience
Viewing films about the disability experience is an easy way to gain knowledge and understanding about what it’s like to be a disabled person in our society. Films like Crip Camp, CODA and Autism: The Musical are examples of high quality films about physical and developmental disability. For more suggestions, visit this website.

3. Participate in a disability pride parade, festival or special event
Many American cities mark Disability Pride Month and/or the anniversary of the ADA with community gatherings of one sort or another. You can offer your support (and have a terrific time) by attending one of these events. Cities that have posted information about upcoming events include: Chicago, Buffalo, New York; Long Beach, California; Lincoln, Nebraska; Philadelphia; Lansing, Michigan; Denver; Miami;  Atlanta; Iowa City, Iowa;  Augusta, Maine; and Baltimore. For a more complete list, visit The Arc.

 4. Share your disability story
Here’s an opportunity to let people without disabilities better understand the disability experience. Using the hashtags #DisabilityPride and #DisabilityPrideMonth, tell them what makes you proud, and let them know how they can best become allies for people with disabilities.

5. Get political
Contact elected officials and raise their awareness about how their policies can improve the lives of people with disabilities.  You can also affect policies by donating to disability organizations working to make positive change on behalf of disabled Americans. Don’t forget to vote for candidates with good track records on disability rights.