As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, Disability Network of Mid-Michigan recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans in the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.5 million African Americans living with a disability.
Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and nonvisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities.
People with disabilities of all backgrounds can be amongst the highest achievers on earth. Harriet Tubman had Epilepsy, actress Halle Berry lives with diabetes, business leader and Shark Tank superstar Daymond John is dyslexic and Stevie Wonder is blind. Poet laureate Amanda Gorman, who had a speech impediment, shared her genius both at the 2021 inauguration and at the Super Bowl. Each of them is a positive role model for success.
The individuals mentioned above are especially important to acknowledge during Black History Month. However, their work should be valued and appreciated year-round. Respectability.org, has compiled profiles of over twenty African Americans with disabilities. Please click here to read the profiles.
Moving the nation to become more equitable for underrepresented communities and dismantling systems that create marginalization requires a transformation in culture, practice and the economy. It requires the courage and commitment of every American, the adoption of policies to end disparities, as well as a culture that embraces diverse stories that reflect the full the African American experience and the intersectionality of the disability community.