SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Disability Pride Month is celebrated annually in July to promote visibility and awareness of the positive pride of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse group within the population and represent all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. Proponents say, however, that disability is often overlooked in broad diversity initiatives.
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Everyone is likely to experience a disability at some point in their life, be it from an accident, illness, or aging. Not all disabilities are visible, but they can be just as challenging as physical disabilities. Experts say that invisible disabilities and people who struggle to prevent their disability status from being disclosed still carry an enormous stigma. As a result, they often struggle with mental and emotional health problems.
According to a USA Today article, its history dates back to July 26, 1990, when President George HW Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In the same year, the city of Boston celebrated the first Disability Pride Day. In 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared July Disability Pride Month to mark the 25th anniversary of ADA.
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Kelie Hess, coordinator of the Utah School to Work program at the Institute for Disability Research, Policy and Practice at Utah State University, met with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on CW30 News for an IN FOCUS discussion at 7 p.m. She talked about what disability pride means to her, how it expands disabled pride by changing societal perceptions of disability, how our community can work towards social change, what accessibility really means, and how we can write a new narrative about how life with a disability can be like.
Eric Stoker, Information Specialist for the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council, shared what it means to be a self-advocate, why it is important to include people with disabilities in the workplace, his thoughts on inclusion in the community, and the talents that people with disabilities have , and the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act before its 31st anniversary.
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Matthew Wappett, executive director of the Institute for Disability Research, Policy and Practice at Utah State University, spoke about the role and function of its center, disability as a universal human experience, disability as an aspect of diversity, stigmatizations that still exist for people with disabilities , invisible disabilities, how mental health falls under disability and how it relates to masculinity.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Hess, Stoker, and Wappett, click the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with Rosie Nguyen of ABC4 on weekdays on the 7pm CW30 news
Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, at 7 p.m., she started a new trip as a presenter for CW30 News. She continues her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.