Disability Pride Month: Honoring Achievements and History

Disability Pride Month: Honoring Achievements and History

Disability Pride Month: Honoring Achievements and History

Disability Pride Month is celebrated every July to honor the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community. It marks the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed on July 26, 1990.

Here’s what you need to know about Disability Pride Month:

  • History: Celebrated in July to commemorate the ADA’s anniversary.
  • Achievements: Recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of people with disabilities.
  • Experiences: Shares stories of triumph, resilience, and everyday victories.
  • Struggles: Highlights ongoing challenges and discrimination faced by the disability community.

Disability Pride Month reminds us that people with disabilities deserve to live full, self-determined lives. Despite the ADA’s progress, discrimination still affects many of the 1 in 4 U.S. adults living with a disability.

I’m Ethan Pease, and I’ve dedicated my career to advocating for the rights of injured workers and those with disabilities. My work in workers’ compensation law has given me insight into the ongoing challenges and triumphs within the disability community. Let’s dive deeper into the significance of Disability Pride Month.

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The History of Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Month is celebrated each July in honor of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA was a groundbreaking piece of legislation that aimed to eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities, ensuring they have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

The first Disability Pride Day took place in Boston in 1990, the same year the ADA was passed. More than 400 people participated, marching from City Hall to Boston Common to affirm that disability is a natural part of the human experience. This event set the stage for future celebrations of disability pride and inclusion.

In 2004, Chicago hosted the first Disability Pride Parade in the United States. The parade was led by Yoshiko Dart, a prominent disability rights activist. Funded with $10,000 in seed money from the Paul G. Hearne Leadership award, the event drew around 1,500 participants. Since then, Chicago has held annual Disability Pride Parades every July, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Disability Pride Month features events nationwide that empower people with disabilities to take pride in who they are. Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia have their own unique traditions, such as disability justice flag raises and week-long free events.

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These celebrations are more than just parades. They include educational workshops, art exhibitions, and community gatherings that highlight the achievements and contributions of people with disabilities. They also serve as a platform for advocating for further inclusion and accessibility in all aspects of society.

The movement has grown globally as well, with cities like Wellington in New Zealand and Zürich in Switzerland hosting their own Disability Pride events. This international recognition underscores the universal importance of disability rights and pride.

Disability Pride Month is not just a celebration; it’s a call to action. It reminds us of the ongoing struggle for equality and the need to continue breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.

Next, we’ll discuss how you can celebrate Disability Pride Month and contribute to this important cause.

Celebrating Disability Pride Month

Disability Pride Flag

The Disability Pride Flag is a powerful symbol of awareness and solidarity. Designed by Ann Magill, who has cerebral palsy, the flag represents pride and acceptance within the disability community. The flag underwent a redesign in 2021 to be more visually safe for those with migraines and visually triggered seizures. The new design features muted colors and straight stripes, making it accessible to people with color blindness as well.

Each element of the flag has a special meaning:

  • Red stripe: Physical disabilities
  • Gold stripe: Neurodiversity
  • White stripe: Invisible and undiagnosed disabilities
  • Blue stripe: Mental illness
  • Green stripe: Sensory perception disabilities

The diagonal placement of the stripes symbolizes how people with disabilities cut across societal barriers. This flag is a reminder of the pride and unity within the disability community.

2024 Theme: “We Want a Life Like Yours”

The theme for Disability Pride Month 2024 is “We Want a Life Like Yours.” This theme, chosen by The Arc’s National Council of Self-Advocates, reflects the dreams and aspirations of the disability community for life experiences often denied to them.

Identity and Community: Disability Pride Month is about celebrating the identity and community of people with disabilities. It’s a time to embrace who you are and take pride in your unique experiences.

Inclusion and Self-Determined Lives: People with disabilities deserve to live self-determined lives, just like everyone else. Unfortunately, discrimination still persists. Disability Pride Month highlights the need for inclusion and the removal of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from fully participating in society.

Inspiring Stories: Throughout July, we share inspiring stories of people with disabilities thriving in various roles—students, employees, leaders, and community members. These stories show what’s possible when inclusion is prioritized.

Awareness and Acceptance: Disability Pride Month also promotes awareness and acceptance. By sharing diverse stories and experiences, we can educate others and drive positive change.

Solidarity: This month is a time for solidarity within the disability community and with allies. It’s a reminder that we are stronger together and that we must continue to fight for equality and justice.

Disability Pride Month is more than just a celebration; it’s a movement towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

Learn About the Disability Experience

Media and Resources

Understanding the disability experience is key to fostering inclusion and empathy. There are many resources available to help you learn about disability rights, the history of segregation and discrimination, and the ongoing fight for human rights.

Explore the UC Berkeley archive on disability rights, which offers a comprehensive look at key moments in the disability rights movement. The Arc’s history also provides valuable insights into the struggles and achievements of the disability community.

For a more personal perspective, consider watching and reading media created by and with people with disabilities. Here are some highly recommended options:

  • Crip Camp: This documentary takes you to a groundbreaking summer camp that galvanized a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, leading to the passage of the ADA.

  • CODA: A heartwarming film about a child of deaf adults (CODA) who navigates her own dreams while staying connected to her family.

  • Demystifying Disability: This book by Emily Ladau helps break down the complexities of disability and offers practical advice for becoming a better ally.

  • Disability Visibility: Edited by Alice Wong, this anthology brings together first-person stories from disabled people, offering a rich tapestry of experiences and insights.

Share Your Story

Your voice matters. Sharing your personal experiences can help others understand the diverse realities of living with a disability. Use social media platforms to share your story using the hashtags #DisabilityPride and #DisabilityPrideMonth.

Ask yourself:

  • What are you proud of?
  • What do you want people without disabilities to know?

By answering these questions and sharing your videos, pictures, or written stories, you can join a larger conversation and help drive change. Follow The Arc’s celebration on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and X/Twitter.

Disability Pride Month is a powerful reminder that everyone deserves to live a self-determined life, free from discrimination. Let’s celebrate the achievements and continue to fight for equality and justice.

Take Action

Teach Your Kids

Teaching kids about disability and inclusion is crucial. It helps foster empathy and understanding from a young age. Here are some age-appropriate tips from TODAY.com, HuffPost, and Cincinnati Children’s:

  • For Younger Kids: Use simple language to explain disabilities. Read books that feature disabled characters.
  • For Older Kids: Discuss the history of disability rights and the importance of inclusion. Encourage them to ask questions and learn more.
  • For Teens: Involve them in community events and volunteer opportunities. Encourage them to follow disability advocates on social media.

Attend Events

Celebrating Disability Pride Month can be more impactful when you participate in local events. These events highlight the achievements and culture of the disability community. Here are some events you can attend:

  • California: Disability Pride LA
  • Illinois: Disability Pride Parade
  • Iowa: Dazzling Disability Pride
  • Missouri: FestAbility: A Celebration of Disabilities
  • New Jersey: Disability Pride in the Park
  • New York: Disability Unite Festival and Disability Pride Festival
  • Ohio: Disability Pride Cincy
  • Pennsylvania: Disability Pride PA
  • Wisconsin: Disability Pride Madison
  • Virtual: Virtual Disability Pride Parade

Reach Out to Your Elected Officials

Educating elected officials about disability issues can lead to meaningful policy changes. Use The Arc’s Action Center to get timely alerts and contact your representatives. Advocate for policies that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.

Donate to The Arc

Consider donating to The Arc, a grassroots movement that has been at the forefront of disability rights for nearly 75 years. Your donation helps create policies, programs, and possibilities for people with disabilities.

Taking action not only supports the disability community but also helps build a more inclusive society for everyone.

Hire People With Disabilities

Right now, 85% of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are unemployed. This is a staggering statistic, especially when we know many of these individuals want to work and have valuable skills to offer.

Why Hire People with Disabilities?

1. Diverse Talent Pool: People with disabilities bring unique perspectives and problem-solving skills. They can drive innovation and creativity in your business.

2. Proven Business Decision: Research shows that disability inclusion improves company culture, increases employee morale, and enhances productivity.

3. Financial Benefits: Companies that hire people with disabilities may qualify for various tax credits and incentives.

Employment Statistics

Among those with IDD who are employed:
– They work fewer than 13 hours a week on average.
– Less than one-fifth receive workplace benefits.

Success Stories

Success stories from employees and employers highlight the benefits of inclusive hiring practices. For instance, this case study shows how an inclusive workplace not only enhances team dynamics but also improves overall business performance.

Steps to Inclusive Hiring

1. Implement Accessible Hiring Practices: Ensure job postings are in accessible formats and provide accommodations during the interview process.

2. Appoint Access Coordinators: Assign someone to oversee accessibility requirements for each project.

3. Discard Assumptions: Avoid making assumptions about what someone can or cannot do based on their appearance. Encourage open conversations.

4. Hire Disability Consultants: They can provide professional insights and advice, ensuring your workplace is truly inclusive.


Hiring people with disabilities is not just the right thing to do; it’s also a smart business decision. By fostering an inclusive workplace, we can help reduce unemployment rates among people with IDD and create a more diverse and innovative workforce.

Frequently Asked Questions about Disability Pride Month

What is National Disability Pride Month?

National Disability Pride Month is celebrated every July. This month honors the history, achievements, experiences, and struggles of the disability community. It aligns with the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed on July 26, 1990. The ADA is a landmark law that broke down many barriers for people with disabilities, promoting inclusion and equal opportunities.

Is there a disability pride flag?

Yes, there is a disability pride flag. Created by Ann Magill in 2019, who has cerebral palsy, the flag symbolizes awareness, solidarity, pride, and acceptance. The flag’s design includes:

  • Black field: Mourning for victims of ableist violence and abuse.
  • Diagonal band: Represents cutting across barriers that separate disabled people from society.
  • Red stripe: Physical disabilities.
  • Gold stripe: Neurodivergence.
  • White stripe: Invisible and undiagnosed disabilities.
  • Blue stripe: Psychiatric disabilities.
  • Green stripe: Sensory disabilities.

What is the 2024 disability awareness month?

In addition to Disability Pride Month in July, March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to raising awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life. Governor Gavin Newsom and other leaders often highlight this month to promote understanding and acceptance of developmental disabilities.

Leading into the next section, let’s explore more about how you can take action and support the disability community.


At Visionary Law Group, we understand the profound impact that disability and workplace injuries can have on your life. As we celebrate Disability Pride Month, recognize the achievements and history of the disability rights movement. This month isn’t just about awareness; it’s about honoring the resilience and contributions of people with disabilities.

We are deeply committed to empowering injured workers. Our goal is to ensure that you are aware of your rights and fully equipped to assert them. We know that securing compensation is not just about covering immediate medical expenses. It’s about planning for future needs, potential long-term care, and lost earning capacity.

We offer personalized legal representation because every case is unique. Our approach is tailored to meet your specific circumstances, providing you with personalized advice and strategies designed to maximize your compensation and facilitate your recovery.

Navigating the complexities of workers’ compensation claims can be daunting. That’s why we offer a Free Case Evaluation at Visionary Law Group. This no-obligation, confidential consultation is your first step toward recovery and empowerment.

Don’t face this challenging time alone. Let us help you focus on what matters most—your health and well-being.

Contact us today for your free case evaluation, and take that crucial first step towards securing the compensation and care you rightfully deserve.

Schedule Your FREE Consultation Now