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Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month has occurred in July each year since 1990. Please see below to learn a bit about disability pride, and what you can do to improve your allyship with any friends, family, neighbors, and community members with disabilities.

Also - Framingham Public Schools will be updating cover photos and profile photos on social media for the month of July.

This month is a chance to honor each person's uniqueness as "a natural and beautiful part of human diversity," according to America's Disability Community.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

  • Title I (Employment): Equal Employment Opportunity for Individuals with Disabilities

  • Title II (State and Local Government): Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services  

  • Title III (Public Accommodations): Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities 

  • Title IV (Telecommunications)

  • Title V (Miscellaneous Provisions)

Learn more about the ADA: https://adata.org/learn-about-ada 

Following this legislation, Boston held the first Disability Pride Day event in July 1990. Since then, Disability Pride events have been celebrated in the month of July in cities including Los Angeles; New York City, San Antonio, Madison, Wisconsin; Brighton, U.K.; and Charleston, South Carolina. The list of participating cities continues to grow.

Disability Pride and Associated Flags

Disability Pride Flag

Disability Pride Flag (New / Digital)

Disability Flag

The flag was created to encompass all disabilities and was designed by Ann Magill, a member of the disability community. Here is a breakdown of its elements:

Black Background
A color of mourning; for those who have suffered from Ableist violence, and also rebellion and protest. 

Parallel Strips
The lightning bolt represents how individuals with disabilities must navigate barriers, and demonstrates their creativity in doing so. Also represents solidarity within the Disability Community and all its differences.

Colors
The five colors represent the variety of needs and experiences: Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and Sensory Disabilities.

After the original "Lightning Bolt" Version of this flag gained visibility in 2021, it was discovered that during digital scrolling, this graphic visually triggered epileptic seizures and migraines. So Ann Magill and several others collaborated to redesign the flag.

The colors were muted, the black was removed from between the colors, and the warm colors and cool colors were each grouped separately on either side of the white band to 1) lessen the chance of a flicker effect when scrolling online, 2) lessen a nausea trigger for those who suffer from migraines, and 3) separate the red and green stripes for those with color blindness. 

Each color band also has a slightly different luminosity and radiates from brightest at the center to darkest at the edges, so that even in grayscale, the stripes can be distinguished.

The Disability flag, Overcoming flag or Flag of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is a flag that represents people who have disabilities. It was created by the Valencian dancer Eros Recio in 2017.

The flag is a tricolor flag with three equally-sized horizontal stripes of gold, silver, and bronze. These colors are meant to evoke the three medals at the Paralympic Games, and are intended to represent the collective's overcoming of obstacles, rather than the competitive and meritocratic sentiments related to the event itself.

Disability Pride Month is about…

  • recognizing a disability as an integral part of oneself.

  • accepting that a disability makes one different, not worse. 

  • honoring each person's uniqueness as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.

  • bringing pride to the term "disabled" and awareness to ableism, the discrimination of people with disabilities. 

  • embracing disabilities but also learning to love oneself on hard days. 

  • listening and amplifying the voices from people with disabilities.

Why is Disability Pride Needed?
According to the National Council on Independent Living, disability pride is necessary to combat the ableism that is rampant in this country, which can include stigma against people with disabilities and barriers to access.

Ableism is any form of discrimination in favor of non-disabled people. It comes in many different forms that range from subtly offensive language to outright prejudice. Some lesser-known examples of ableism include sayings such as “That’s so lame,” or “My suggestion fell on deaf ears.” Using a class of disability as an idiom or to illustrate a point can offend and alienate disabled people.

Ableism can also come from well-intended actions. It’s important that disabilities be acknowledged, without unduly affecting the expectations of the disabled individual. Ignoring a disability or pretending it doesn’t exist is a form of ableism. The language we use and the way we acknowledge, or fail to, disabilities are just a couple of common examples of ableism that can occur in the workplace. Let Disability Pride Month serve as a chance to highlight ableism and how it plays into our own unconscious biases.

What are some things you can do to be an ally or show support? 

  • Educate yourself! Learn about different models of disability.

  • Listen to people when they request an accommodation.

  • Consider accessibility in everything you do - from dining out to hosting events, make accessibility and inclusion a part of your life. 

  • Don’t assume you know what someone needs.
  • Never touch a person with a disability or their mobility equipment without consent.

  • Keep invasive questions to yourself.

  • Don’t speak on behalf of someone with a disability unless they explicitly ask you to.

  • Talk about disability with children and young people.

Framingham-Specific Information

Flag Raising Event on July 26th
Framingham community members will be invited to attend a special event organized by the Disability Commission. Save the date of July 26th for a Disability Flag Raising in the City Hall Plaza. More details will be shared by the City in the coming days! 

About the Disability Commission
The Disability Commission is comprised of a majority of people with various disabilities. The Commission works with City Officials, in particular, the ADA Coordinator and the Access Compliance Inspector, to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. Read more: https://www.framinghamma.gov/2543/Disability-Commission 

Sources:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/07/02/how-disability-pride-month-started-and-what-means/7840560002/

https://www.verywellmind.com/understanding-disability-pride-month-5193069

https://www.afb.org/blog/entry/celebrating-disability-pride-month