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July is Disability Pride Month

"Disability Pride" has been defined as accepting and honoring each person's uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.

 

People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population, representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds. Initially started to celebrate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, Disability Pride Month is a month set aside to focus attention on this diverse community and to celebrate the pride disabled people have as people with disabilities. The overall purpose is to portray the disability community in a positive light, and to create space for more people with disabilities to explore their own lives as disabled people in positive and public ways. Many large cities nation-wide host Disability Pride parades, festivals, and other events to celebrate “disability culture” intending to positively influence the way people think about and/or define disability and to end the stigma of disability.



Some may interpret “disability pride” to mean a disabled person’s pride in specific, individual accomplishments and successes. Others may cite characteristics often praised in people with disabilities – like perseverance, adaptability, and optimism – even though these qualities are often little more than positive stereotypes. For people with disabilities, “disability pride” feels more like a declaration of unconditional pride in being disabled, embracing it, and being part of a disability community. For many, it’s also a direct encouragement to be seen and to interact fully with their disabilities upfront and not hidden or minimized for the comfort or convenience of others or themselves.


Disability pride means you take pride in your whole self, which includes your disability. It means you understand your limitations, including chronic pain or illness, but accept and love who you are. Many people view their disability as an integral part of who they are, rather than a flaw or something that should be separated from their identity. Disability Pride is accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. It is all about celebrating and reclaiming visibility in public because people with disabilities have historically been pushed out of public spaces.

While the experiences of disabilities may differ, a sense of community can help people with disabilities to cope, especially given the ongoing systemic barriers, stigma, etc. At Nishna Productions, we work hard to create that sense of community. The individuals in our care are provided opportunities to develop relationships, both within the disabled community and the larger community in which they live. We create these opportunities as needed, but utilizing established community events is always preferred. After all, if separate but equal didn’t work for education, why would we assume it works for disabilities?


While many disabled people have had their struggles erased and overlooked in history, they have also had their inventions, their victories, and their moments of joy overlooked. We will be sharing many of these on our Facebook page throughout the month, but to read some incredible stories, click the link below.

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