This Month Celebrate Disability Pride And The ADA Anniversary
This July, celebrate Disability Pride Month and the Americans with Disabilities Act by advocating for an inclusive world.
By Sydney Kerelo
In 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law, Boston held the first Disability Pride Parade. But it wasn’t until 2015 that July officially became Disability Pride Month. That same year, the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Since then, cities nationwide have celebrated Disability Pride Month with parades, events, and many festivities. But while the Americans with Disabilities Act began on July 26, 1990, when it was signed into law at the White House, it’s not when it officially started.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted to “prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.” But for many years before the signing ceremony, people with disabilities across the country were already challenging societal barriers that excluded them from their communities.
Local groups in cities and towns came together to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities by establishing the independent living movement. This challenged the notion that people with disabilities must be institutionalized and fought for their right to live within the community.
Since then, with the help of thousands of people, the disability rights movement has grown over the last couple of decades and has since expanded to include Disability Pride Month to commemorate its passage.
In 2019, when Disability Pride Month began, the original flag underwent a makeover that altered the original zigzagged design because it worsened symptoms for those with visually triggered disabilities. The updated design features muted colors and a straight diagonal band from the top left to the bottom corner.
The new flag design shows parallel stripes for intercommunal solidarity, while the colors symbolize various disability experiences. According to Respect Ability, the black background mourns disabled people who’ve died due to negligence, suicide, rebellion, illness, and eugenics. While the stripe’s color represents disability types:
- Red: for physical disabilities
- Gold: for cognitive and intellectual disabilities
- White: nonvisible and undiagnosed disabilities
- Blue: psychiatric disabilities
- Green: sensory disabilities
Since its beginning, Disability Pride Month has been a time for people with disabilities to positively assert their identity, listen to disabled voices, and advocate for the best accommodations inside and outside of communities. The flag has become an outward symbol of the identity, resilience, and capacity of the disability community.