Whether you are someone who has a disability or considers yourself an advocate for people with disabilities, there are some important days each year that you should know about. These days promote and celebrate individuals with disabilities. Participating in and spreading awareness about these days are ways that you can advocate for the disability community. There are more days than the ones we are highlighting below, but these are a good start.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) comes annually on the third Thursday of May. GAAD focuses on making those who create electronic and information technology (websites, software, mobile apps, online documents, etc.) aware of the importance of making accessible and inclusive technology for users with a variety of disabilities. Goals include promoting and striving towards digital access and inclusion for all. On this day, you can find virtual and in-person events that show how people with disabilities use the web and digital products while using assistive technologies. To learn more about this day, you can visit globalaccessibilityawarenessday.org.
Anniversary of the Supreme Court Olmstead Decision
June 22 is a pivotal day in history for individuals with disabilities. On that day in 1999, the Supreme Court decided that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible. This milestone came from the ruling of the Olmstead v. L.C. case where Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson were unlawfully confined in the institution where they had been receiving treatment. The two women had concluded their treatment years before but were not moved to the community-based program as they should have been. Every year, the anniversary of the Supreme Court Olmstead Decision is celebrated on June 22nd.
Disability Pride Month
We celebrate Disability Pride Month annually in July. Throughout the month, people around the United States promote visibility and awareness of the positive pride felt by people with disabilities. Some big cities hold parades and festivals to uplift those with disabilities and challenge the thoughts and perceptions of others. This time is all about celebrating who you are, disability culture and sharing your unique experiences. Even if you can’t attend a parade, you can share your story with others and debunk the myths and stereotypes of individuals with disabilities.
A huge milestone, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed the lives of individuals with disabilities in the United States. It was signed into law on July 26,, 1990. This civil rights law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public spaces and ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. Although many people agree that there is still a long way to go when it comes to accessibility and inclusion, they also agree that it’s important to celebrate the victories and how far society has come. Every year, many people around the country celebrate the anniversary of the ADA.