July is Disability Pride Month!
President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. This law is one of those major milestones in our history as it prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. It is the official recognition that valuing and respecting each individual uniqueness is our collective strength.
In order to continue to raise the collective consciousness around diversity and inclusion, July presents an opportunity to continue the celebration coming off the heel’s of June’s LGBTQA+ Pride Month. It is only when each of us can truly honor all differences as normal, natural and beautiful that the soil in which we grow becomes richer, where the seeds of acceptance, belonging, compassion and connection are able to blossom in all their glory.
Therefore, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider as you reflect on your relationship with disabilities and how you might honor and contribute to the elevation of the collective consciousness:
- NOT ‘Special’ Needs. All humans have basic needs, whether abled or disabled, so saying someone has “special” needs feels shaming, similar to the feeling that arises when suggesting someone is “needy”, like they are a burden. To reduce stigmatization, consider embracing “disabled” or someone “having a disability” moving forward.
- A Different Perspective. For those that travel to other parts of the country or world, reflect on why it is you enjoy travel so much. For me, it is, in large part, the opportunity to experience a different culture that enriches my life with new perspectives or views of the world. I learn so much in those moments. Well, considering doing an “immersion” into a disability to learn how people with such a disability see and experience the world. Not only might you learn something new, you might just find that you are forever changed!
- Awareness to Ableism. By leaning into (and not away from) becoming more aware of the myriad of disabilities, it grows your own awareness of systemic ableism, which is simply the discrimination that people with disabilities experience. Abled body-mind people take so much for granted, without much thought. Consider trying an exercise, perhaps alone or with your family, where someone in the family selects a disability to experience for a few hours or even a day. Afterwards, journal about what you experienced, including how it made you feel and share it with each other or someone else.
- Attend an Event. Consider attending a Disability Pride event this month. If you can’t find a local event, perhaps a parade, to participate in, virtual opportunities are available. Increasing visibility by adding your able voice in the demand for equal access for all is mission critical. Becoming more actively involved supports the growing counter-culture that respects and values the worth of all people equally. Easterseals is hosting a virtual parade on July 26th to celebrate Disability Pride.
- Read Up on the Experience of Disability. Perhaps the most energy and time you have at the moment is simply to read a book to expand your consciousness this month. Consider Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong. Then perhaps recommend it to a friend or two!
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!