National Disability Independence Day

National Disability Independence Day

Today, July 26th, marks the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. 

We would like to honor and celebrate the radical, disabled activists who broke the chains of silence and isolation to bring forth this bill and the multitude of anonymous disabled people, who fought for centuries for equality that many of them never enjoyed. Thanks to their incredible vision and perseverance, we all live in a more inclusive and accessible world. 

However, the push for disability visibility is not over. Although significant progress has been made, it is critical that we continue to fight for disabled people to be seen and to build bonds of allyship with other marginalized groups and the able.  We are particularly inspired by intersectional disability visibility activists Emily Ladau, Samuel Habib, and Hari Srinivasan as they lead our fight for justice.

On this very important day, here are 4 things you can do to promote disability inclusion: 

  1.  Stand up to the forces that isolate and deny access to disabled people in your community.
  2.  Become allies to the disabled by creating strong relationships and following their lead in speaking out when you see someone being isolated or targeted.
  3. Learn about bills and policies aimed to help or hurt those who are disabled. Even if you can’t vote yet, it’s still important to learn about the ways that certain policies can affect those with disabilities. If you can vote, do your research and support bills that champion  with disabilities.
  4. Provide opportunities for those with disabilities. Make an effort to create a diverse working space

The Beyond Differences National Teen Board Disability Visibility Team is also at your disposal.  We work together to write curriculum, build partnerships, highlight Disability Visibility activists and work with students across the country to build more inclusive communities.  We would love to zoom into your classrooms or organizations to talk about our own experiences with disability, isolation and inclusion activism or answer any questions that may center on Disability Visibility.  You can always reach us through the Beyond Differences website! We would love to work with your community.   

If you are a current high school student wanting to join in the fight, we hope you will go to our website and apply to the Beyond Differences National Teen Board as our movement is growing and we would love to work with fellow young Disability Visibility activists.

Will W., Harita K, Angel G.
Beyond Differences National Teen Board
Disability Visibility Team

The misson of Beyond Differences® is to inspire students nationwide to end social isolation and create cultures of belonging for everyone. We envision a world where all youth are accepted, valued, and included no matter their differences. Beyond Differences® offers FREE SEL curriculum, lesson plans, and supplies’ to middle school educators all across the nation. Bring our programs to your school today!