Disability Heritage Month

UNM Celebrates 2022 Disability Heritage Month

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OCTOBER: National Disability Employment Awareness Month,

Congress, with the aim of helping disabled veterans, designated the first week of October as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week in 1945. Seventeen years later, the word "physically" was removed from the phrase in order to recognize the needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In the 1970s, a shift in disability public policy led to further emendation. For the first time, it was viewed as discriminatory to exclude or segregate people because of a disability, and activists were fighting strongly for legal revisions. As a result, the U.S. saw changes such as the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and the designation, by presidential proclamation, of a full month to increase public awareness of those with disabilities and appreciate the capabilities of the 30 million people in the U.S. of working-age who are disabled. Various programs throughout the month headed by The Office of Disability Employment Policy emphasize specific employment barriers that still need to be addressed and eliminated.

JULY: Disability Pride Month

There are an estimated 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide. Their contributions benefit us all. In the United States, July is Disability Pride Month. It marks the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark U.S. rights law that extended civil rights protections to persons with disabilities and assured that all Americans would benefit from their talents.

The first official Disability Pride celebration occurred in 2015 to commemorate the ADA’s 25th anniversary. The historic legislation was signed on July 26, 1990. ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life and enables their full participation in society — by working, going to school, using public and private transportation services, voting, buying goods and services or accessing public places. [See a timeline of some landmark events and legislation leading up to the passage of the ADA.]

During July, community members highlight their contributions to society and advocate for their legal rights. Several U.S. cities hold parades to recognize the community.

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