- Matthew Ivan
July is Disability Pride Month
The first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston in 1990; and the first U.S. based Disability Pride parade was held in Chicago in 2004. Today, Disability Pride parades are held in a number of places nationwide and these events celebrate “disability culture” with the intention to positively influence the way people think about and/or define disability and to end the stigma of disability. Pride comes from celebrating our heritage, disability culture, the unique experiences that we have as people with disabilities and the contributions we offer society.
“There is a tremendous need to create a counter-culture that teaches new values and beliefs, and acknowledges the dignity and worth of all human beings. Disability pride is a direct response to this need.” – Sarah Triano, National Disabled Students Union.
Disability pride month is a way for people with disabilities to celebrate who they are, and for others to better understand how they can become better allies for the disabled community. The more this pride month is celebrated and made public the closer we come to a more inclusive world. Disability Pride, much like LGBTQ+ Pride, is all about celebrating and reclaiming visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces, and while they have some similarities the two do represent different communities.
Disability Pride continues to evolve, thanks to the hard work of disability activists who have fought for representation and equality. Whether you are familiar with the disability justice movement or are new to thinking about what it means, a great deal of work remains to ensure that the needs of the disability community are met.
THE DISABILITY FLAG AND ITS MEANING
There is a disability pride flag, it has a black background and diagonally across the flag are five zigzag lines colored blue, yellow, white, red, and green. The diagonal lines are to represent lightning bolts and each color represents something unique about the disability community.
The Black Field: this field is to represent the disabled people who have lost their lives due to not only their illness, but also negligence, suicide, and eugenics.
The Lightning Bolt: the shape of the lightning bolt represents the non-lateral lives that many disabled people live, often having to adapt themselves or their physical routes to get around an inaccessible society.
The Colors: each color on this flag represents a different aspect of disability or impairment,
Blue: mental illness.
Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities.
Green: sensory perception disabilities.
Red: physical disabilities.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
There are countless ways to celebrate Disability Pride. We'd love for everyone to join us at our free community event in Auburn on Wednesday, July 27th as we celebrate the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you're looking for other ways to celebrate, consider reading this article by disability activist Daphne Frias. Daphne offers 11 interesting ways to learn about disabilities and to show disability pride.