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Join us in Recognizing Disability Pride Month

Article Written by: TransMedCare Long Distance Medical Transportation 

TransMedCare Long Distance Medical Transportation logoJuly is recognized in the United States as Disability Pride Month, commemorating the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law on July 26, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. This groundbreaking law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. While Disability Pride began as a day of celebration in 1990, the first official recognition of Disability Pride Month occurred in July 2015, marking the 25th anniversary of the ADA.

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It all began with 19 courageous individuals

Stimulated by civil rights the Disability Rights Movement gained traction in the 1960’s, leading to the passage of the ADA in 1990. Decades earlier in 1978, 19 individuals abandoned their wheelchairs and blocked city buses deemed inaccessible for the physically disabled, creating awareness and leading the way for the passage of the ADA. Discover how this one act led to years of advocacy in Colorado and inspired the nation in this inspiring documentary produced by PBS at www.pbs.org/articles/disability-pride-month-and-the-disability-rights-movement.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability just as other civil rights laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. The ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.

A person is considered disabled if they:

  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • have a history or record of such an impairment (such as cancer that is in remission), or

are perceived by others as having such an impairment (such as a person who has scars from a severe burn).

If a person falls into any of these categories, the ADA protects them.

TransMedCare Long Distance Medical Transportation drivers surrounding a patient in a hospital bed

Examples of Disabilities

There are many types of disabilities, and the ADA regulations do not list all of them. Some disabilities are apparent. Some are not. Examples of disabilities include:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • HIV
  • Autism
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deafness or hearing loss
  • Blindness or low vision
  • Epilepsy
  • Mobility disabilities such as those requiring the use of a wheelchair, walker, or cane
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury

In addition, the ADA covers many other disabilities not listed here.

To prevent discrimination against disabled individuals, the ADA sets out requirements that apply to situations that are common in everyday life. Employers, state and local governments, businesses that are open to the public, commercial facilities, transportation providers, and telecommunication companies are required to follow the statutes of the ADA. For additional information, go to www.ada.gov/topics/intro-to-ada.

ADA Disability Pride Flag

The ADA Disability Pride Flag and what it stands for

The original Disability Pride flag was created in 2019 by writer Ann Magill, who has cerebral palsy. Magill had attended an event for the 20th anniversary of the ADA and was disappointed that it was confined to the basement and grounds of an independent living center, instead of receiving public recognition. This motivated her to create a Disability Pride Flag. The flag is considered a collaborative design effort, with Magill saying the design truly represents the represents the community because the community came together to solve a problem. Magill has waived her copyright and entered this flag into the public domain, so that everyone is free to use and remix it. Each color stripe has a meaning:

–           Red – physical disabilities

–           Gold – neurodiversity

–           White – invisible disabilities and disabilities that haven’t yet been diagnosed

–           Blue – emotional and psychiatric disabilities, including mental illness, anxiety, and depression

–           Green – for sensory disabilities, including deafness, blindness, lack of smell, lack of taste, audio processing disorder, and all other sensory disabilities

The faded black background represents mourning and rage for disabled victims of violence and abuse. The diagonal band cuts across the walls and barriers that separate the disabled from normal society, also representing light and creativity cutting through the darkness.

Sources: ADA.gov / Columba University / PBS