I always felt lonely, sad, and forgotten for so long because it seemed like everyone had a month. October is for breast cancer and domestic violence, November is for men’s health, February is for African Americans, March is for women, and June is for the LGBTQ community. I understand people have the right to be heard with a title they are born with or given to them throughout their life. I also feel that as a part of the disability community, we don’t get the respect we deserve.
I discovered its disability pride month in July here in the USA a few years ago.
For people with disabilities, this is a big step for our community.
In July 1990, I was 12 years old and going into the 5th grade. The way people started treating people with disabilities began to change. On July 26, 1990, the 43rd President George W. Bush signed into law “The Americans With Disabilities Act.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals 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. The law’s purpose is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.
In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA made several significant changes to the definition of “disability.” The changes in the description of disability in the ADAAA apply to all titles of the ADA, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions, agents of the employer, and joint management-labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation”). What are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? | ADA National Network (adata.org)
The other day I was thinking, I realized I was part of the first generation of people with disabilities to grow up between the ADA acts of 1973 and 1990. This means we were the first generation to have the right to be in the community entirely. (generation X mid the to late ’60s, the late ’70s to early ’80s ( Generation X – Wikipedia). We now have laws that say we had the right to have the same education as others, and we had the right to be in public places like everyone else, and places had to make accessible for us.
When you are part of something that has never been done, things always need to be worked out. I spent most of my childhood like this—born in the late ’70s and growing up, attending school, and being a part of something new in the 80S and ’90s. The community around me was having a hard time accepting changes in the world; I was one of the millions to be a pioneer.
At this time in my life, all I wanted was to be a kid, but I also wanted to be a teacher to people and places around me. I didn’t understand what I was a part of then. Looking back on my life and understanding what I was a part of and how my generation of disabled changed the world significantly. It gives me a sense of pride that not many would understand.
My cp makes me see life differently than people around me. Seeing that my legs have never worked as they should, other parts of me work harder than expected to overcome what my legs could not do. Two of my senses, seeing and hearing, make up for my legs; this, in turn, makes me see life with more sensitivity and compassion. I know life isn’t simple, but some things out there make life harder than it should be. When you have a disability, you deal with many struggles in the first years of life.
At 44, I have seen life from sitting in a wheelchair to knee walking with a walker to walking independently, then again going back to a wheelchair and walking with a walker, and I have had many surgeries. All these things make me look at life differently, and it makes me think differently. I’m not naive or in a dreamland like I was for years.
All the ways I have seen life made me a more open-minded person. My personality is not too sensitive, and not much of a hardass. I haven’t left my area of the world, but I also know I have changed little pieces in the world by being part of the first generation of disabled to have a hand in changing how people view disabilities.
For over 30 years, I’ve been proud of what I see in the world today regarding disabilities. We have come so far in making our mark as a community, and I know, like in every community, there is still a long way to go. Everyone has the right to be equal in their communities, but we need to give each community a platform as a world. If social media and the world are going to highlight one community, highlight all of them on all levels and all platforms.
It has taken me years to be proud of who I am. I want the world to see what the disability community is all about and how no matter what disability we have, we choose to look past our wrapping and labels and have as everyday life as possible.
I encourage others in the disability community, whether they have a disability or know people with disabilities who partake in any activities with disabilities, to understand that people with disabilities are just like everyone else.