Celebrating A Natural and Beautiful Part of Human Diversity
Guest post by Stephanie Polito
July marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark legislation passed on July 26, 1990, that broke down barriers to inclusion in society. Disability Pride Month was first celebrated that same year, taking place in Boston, Massachusetts in the US. Celebrations follow, with the first parade taking place in Chicago in 2004. Despite so much progress being made to make a more inclusive society for those with impairments and disabilities, stigma, barriers, and a lack of accessibility still exist, which is why we need to acknowledge and honour every kind of disability, the people who identify with them, and the wide range of supports they need to thrive.
To gain awareness, there is an official Disability Pride Flag that we can tell you all about. The five colors represent the variety of needs and experiences: Mental Illness (blue), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (yellow), Sensory Disabilities (white), Physical Disabilities (red), and Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities (green).
Why is Disability Pride Month important? To break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities; and. To promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride.
Stepanie Polito identifies as female. She is a Pre-K teacher assistant. She is part of the Easterseals Massachusetts #TeachDisabilityHistory campaign. Stephanie and other members of the campaign reviewed drafts and provided input on Emerging America's free K-12 Disability History Curriculum: Reform to Equal Rights (2023). She is a board member of DREAM, a college program for people with disabilities. Learn more about DREAM.