Reflecting on Disability Pride
As Disability Pride Month 2021 comes to a close, Mercy Home is taking a moment to recognize the importance of celebrating people with disabilities, amplifying their voices, and continuing to advocate for a more compassionate and equitable world.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. This landmark piece of legislation prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and works to ensure that they have equal rights in all areas of public life including employment, education, and transportation. In celebration of the passage of the ADA, parades and activities are held across the nation where people with disabilities come together and uplift one another. In New York City, July was declared Disability Pride Month in 2015 to honor the ADA’s 25th anniversary and those who have tirelessly advocated for acceptance and inclusion.
For many, disability pride is about recognizing their disability as an integral part of their identity, loving themselves, honoring their uniqueness, and recognizing that our differences make us stronger. This time is also an opportunity to discuss the issues the disability community continues to face. State and nationwide, budgets for supportive programs for people with disabilities are shrinking and critical services are at risk. Disability justice activists warn that these programs are crucial to allowing people with disabilities to be integrated into their communities.
This month and every month, Mercy Home centers the voices of the people we support and recognize that everyone experiences disability differently. In celebration of Disability Pride Month, members of our Self-Advocacy Group shared that “Disability Pride Month is important because it promotes self-respect, community, and protects people with disabilities from discrimination.” Together, the group meets to discuss their disabilities, share their feelings, and advocate for the issues they care about. Most importantly, the group encourages self-expression, independence, and fellowship that helps everyone accept and take pride in their identity.
*Stacey, a participant in Mercy Home’s Creative Arts Therapy program spoke to us about what Disability Pride Month means to her. She shared that it means you can do anything with your mind, be creative, and be who you are. We couldn’t agree more.
*Name has been changed for privacy. Read our latest Annual Report