Disability Pride & Allyship

Disability Pride 

People living with disabilities experience many daily challenges. Access to transportation is a major issue as it impacts access to education, health care, employment, and socialization. Society does not actively consider people living with disabilities, particularly in the design of public spaces and provision of services. For example, the New York City subway system only has elevators at some stations, meaning that only about 29% of the system is accessible to people with disabilities. A world that prioritizes the needs of everyone, including people with disabilities would be developed with universal design. Universal Design seeks to establish the “design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.” 

Emily Ladau, disability advocate, podcaster, and author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say and How to be an Ally shares her life-experiences and lessons learned not just for one month of the year during Disability Pride Month, but all year. Laudau outlines ways to uplift and engage us all in a conversation to improve access for everyone all the time.  

Disability pride is a radical movement that seeks to shift traditional ways of thinking about disability. It aims to highlight different types of disability representation so that disabled individuals, especially those with invisible or less stereotypical disabilities can share their stories with pride. The rights of those affected by disability depend on better representation. 

‘The first thing I remind people is that disability itself is not a bad word,’ Emily said. ‘We are so afraid to even use the word that we often relegate disability to the margins of marginalization.” Emily highlights the key takeaway from Disability Pride Month – we need to ensure that people living with disabilities are at the table and actively engaged in equity, inclusion, and diversity.   

Allyship 

Being an ally means closely examining and correcting attitudes, actions and circumstances that devalue someone based on their having a disability or based on the assumption that they have a disability. Disability is broader than many people think, and most people will experience disability (either temporarily or long-term) in their lifetime. Disabilities can be physical or mental and visible or invisible.  

The first step in allyship is education. Below are some resources for Disability Pride and Allyship 

Resources:  

Community Health Centers  

Community Health Centers started as part of the civil rights movement to serve everyone in the community regardless of ability to pay. Below are just two examples of the great work that our member health centers do every day to ensure high quality health care with respect and dignity for all.  

Advantage Care Health Center and the Fay J. Lindner Center (advantagecaredtc.org) for autism and developmental disabilities based on Long Island provide medical, dental, and behavioral health services to all members of the community. The Lindner Center’s wide range of services are designed to support and empower individuals with disabilities and their families.  

Metro Community Health Center provides primary care services for the entire family and its medical team has experience in providing care for patients who have intellectual and development disabilities. Monique Dennis-Farrington turned to Metro for support. “Having a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities herself, Ms. Dennis-Farrington has worked tirelessly to learn about all the services that would help enhance the quality of her son’s life. She has made herself available to participate in health center quality and improvement committees to make sure that the unique needs both medically and socially of all intellectual and developmentally disabled patients and their care team are understood, appreciated, and addressed.” Learn about her story and advocacy here: Dorothy Kartashevitch Consumer Award | Community Health Care Association of New York State (chcanys.org) 

Published on 08/11/2022