July 26th marks the official 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
With the date fast-approaching, many people are seeking ways to celebrate, especially since most in-person public events have been canceled or postponed due to social distancing requirements.
Here are 5 ways you can celebrate ADA 30 (from the comfort of your home!):
Participate in a Virtual Disability Pride Parade: Disability Pride Parades are held to celebrate people with disabilities. They originated as a way to end stigma around disability and promote the idea that disability is a natural, valuable part of diversity in which people can take pride. While Disability Pride Parades have traditionally been held in-person with celebrations across the country, many organizations have shifted their disability pride events to virtual formats. For example, Chicago’s Disability Pride Parade will be co-hosted with the Chicagoland Disabled People of Color Coalition. Easterseals is encouraging people to use the hashtag #VirtualDisabilityPride on July 26th. Participants are also asked to make signs, share a photo or video, or share stories about their disability experiences.
Brush up on Disability History: While the ADA is often the most celebrated milestone within the disability rights movement, the disability community worked tirelessly long before then to champion for the equality of people with disabilities. The American Association of People with Disabilities created an ADA30 Portal that explores key milestones in the disability rights movement all the way back to the 1940s.
Join a Virtual Rally: Grassroots activism was critical to the passage of the ADA. Similar to Disability Pride Parades, rallies and marches often bring disability community members and advocates together in-person. This year, organizations like the Harkin Institute will gather online to hear from disability leaders and share personal experiences and reflections.
Participate in Intersectional Conversations: It’s important to remember that people with disabilities often represent multiple cultures and identities. These identities often shape and inform their disability experiences. For ADA 30, aim to seek out events that center the voices of marginalized communities within the disability community, such as people of color. For example, on July 26th you can join a group of disabled BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) for an #ADA30InColor online panel. They will be discussing their experiences and the future work that needs to be done within the disability movement.
Read Books by Disabled Authors: The slogan, “Nothing About Us Without Us” is often used within the disability community to encourage the idea that no policies or actions should be created without participation and input from the people who will be affected by those policies. In the same way, the best way to learn about the experiences of people with disabilities is to learn and hear from those living with disabilities. The following books are all written by authors with disabilities: Disability Visibility: FIRST-PERSON STORIES FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, edited by Alice Wong; The Pretty One: On Life, Pop Culture, Disability, and Other Reasons to Fall in Love with Me, by Keah Brown; and Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law, by Haben Girma.
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