Disability Pride Month celebrates the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Carson Pickett, who was born without a left forearm and left hand, became the first limbless person to make the US women’s national soccer team in 2022. (© Rick Bowmer/AP Images)
There are estimated 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide. Your contributions benefit us all.
In the US, July is Disability Pride Month. It marks the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, a landmark US legal statute that has been expanded protection of civil rights people with disabilities and assured that all Americans would benefit from their talents.
“For me, Disability Pride is many things,” said Jessica Ping-Wild, an American blogger who lives in London. “It’s an opportunity for disabled people explain their inherent self-esteemsomething not often done by people outside the community.”
Commemorating the ADA
The first official Disability Pride celebration was held in 2015 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of ADA. The historic law was signed on July 26, 1990.
ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life and enables them to participate fully in society – through work, attending school, using public and private transport, voting, purchasing goods and services or accessing public places. [See a timeline of some landmark events and legislation leading up to the passage of the ADA.]
In July, community members highlight their contributions to society and stand up for their legal rights. Several US cities hold parades to recognize the community.
Raising awareness with a flag
The Disability Pride Flag helps increase community visibility. Ann Magill designed the 2019 flag with feedback from community members. She then worked with light-sensitive individuals to create a more accessible version.
Five diagonal stripes of different colors rest on a black background. The Black Field mourns the victims of violence and abuse against people with disabilities. The diagonal proposes breaking down barriers that separate disabled people from society.
The flag’s five colors represent different types of disabilities: red (physical disabilities), gold (neurodivergence), white (invisible and undiagnosed disabilities), blue (psychiatric disabilities), and green (sensory disabilities).
make business sense
By empowering people with disabilities, ADA is also committed to this strengthens the US economy. Consider these numbers:
- Companies that prioritize disability inclusion reported 28% higher sales and 30% higher profit margins, according to Accenture.
- People with disabilities, along with their family members and caregivers, represent $2 trillion in annual disposable income.
- According to the International Labor Organization, the exclusion of people with disabilities from the workplace leads to losses of up to 7% of the gross domestic product.
The US government is doing its part to ensure that US diplomacy and foreign aid assist people with disabilities around the world. Sara Minkara serves as the US Special Advisor on International Disability Rights and travels the world to discuss how full inclusion of people with disabilities benefits society.
Full involvement of all Department of State staff, disabled and able-bodied alike, is a core component of the efforts of the Diversity and Inclusion Secretariat, led by the Ambassador Gina Abercrombie WinstanleyChief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
The Department of State also supports those of Mobility International USA National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange and his work to increase the number of people with disabilities participating in international exchange programs.
People with disabilities continue to make historical contributions in many fields such as music, science, sports and technology.
Ralph Braun, an entrepreneur suffering from muscular dystrophy, is considered the “father of the mobility movement” for his ideas that led to the invention of wheelchair lifts, wheelchair-accessible vans and scooters.
In sports, the Paralympics showcase the talents of people with disabilities every four years. Off the field, athletes champion inclusion, access and equity. Elite US athletes, including gymnast Simone Biles and pro basketball star Kevin Love, help break the stigma surrounding mental illness by acknowledging their own struggles and raising awareness of conditions affecting millions of people worldwide.
On the US soccer field, defenseman Carson Pickett became the first limbless person to make the US women’s national soccer team this year. “I hope to encourage anyone struggling with their dislocated limbs to not be ashamed of who they are,” Pickett said.