Disability Pride Month celebrates Americans with disabilities, their identities
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - July is Disability Pride Month which marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990.
ADA is a civil rights law that makes it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in all areas of life like jobs, schools, transportation, and those places open to the general public. The law also aids in giving protection to people with disabilities similar to those provided based on race, color, sex, national origin, age and religion.
“Many years ago, you know, the terminology in regards to disability was somewhat degrading, so to speak. So the Americans with Disabilities Act has really brought change and among, among the terminology, how we see people living with disability, just including people with disabilities in our everyday living,” said Darryle Powell, Executive Director for the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Roughly one in four adults in America is living with a disability.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an individual with a disability is a person who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Has a record of such an impairment; or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment.
EEOC says a qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
- Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position;
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
Powell explains every one of them deserves a seat at the table.
“All people, regardless of the disability deserves an opportunity,” said Powell. “If you don’t have an opportunity to sit at the table, you can’t, you know, you can’t partake in what’s what’s given or what’s there on tape. So just having that equal opportunity just to be among other people.”
The workplace is an important arena to make sure everyone is included.
“This is a big issue, not only in our area, but all over the world, just employing people with disabilities, Powell explained. “I encourage employees to get to know individuals with disabilities to listen to them, just include them in their everyday work. Because, you know, a person that lives with a disability can be very dedicated into task completion, you know, and there’s a thing called inclusive employment, and, you know, just kind of getting putting people in the place to do the best job that they possibly can do.”
Outside of the workplace, we can all create a culture that’s more inclusive of those with disabilities.
“Be there for people who live with disabilities, listen to people with disabilities. So often, you know, people who are living with disability are overlooked. So not to overlook, you just involve people with disabilities in our everyday living. Because people are people, people want to be involved. People want to be engaged, people want to be loved. So just seeing people for who they are,” Powell said.
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