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July is Disability Pride Month

Learn about the history of Disability Pride Month, why it’s important, and how to celebrate.

July is Disability Pride Month, when the disability community comes together to celebrate the contributions of people with disabilities and honor each individual’s uniqueness.  

 

It is rooted in the struggles of people with disabilities to overcome barriers of stigma, ableism, and inaccessibility. The original creators chose this month to mark the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark civil rights law for people with disabilities. 

 

Today, Disability Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to lifting up the voices of individuals with disabilities and advancing disability rights.  

History of Disability Pride Month

On a sunny Thursday in July, 1990, President George H.W. Bush sat behind a wooden desk on the South Lawn of the Whitehouse.

 

He was surrounded by notable disability rights activists including Evan Kemp, who served as the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Justin Dart, the Chairman of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; Rev. Harold Wilke; and Swift Parrino, the Chairperson of the National Council on Disability. 

 

The world watched as the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was the first law of its kind to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else. It was a proud moment for the disability community.  

 

Every year since then, the month of July has been designated as Disability Pride Month, with parades and celebrations taking place across the country to commemorate the passage of the ADA, celebrate people with disabilities, and promote their visibility in society.  

President George H. W. Bush sits outside at a wooden desk signing the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26,1990. On his left are two men wearing glasses, one standing and one sitting in a wheelchair. On his right is a woman standing and a man sitting in a wheelchair wearing a hat. There is grass, a fountain, and a crowd of people in the background. Image source: National Archives
President George H. W. Bush sits outside at a wooden desk signing the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26,1990. On his left are two men wearing glasses, one standing and one sitting in a wheelchair. On his right is a woman standing and a man sitting in a wheelchair wearing a hat. There is grass, a fountain, and a crowd of people in the background. Image source: National Archives

5 Ways to Celebrate Disability Pride Month

Here are five ways to celebrate Disability Pride all month long:

1. Fly the disability pride flag

Have you seen the new disability pride flag? While you might be familiar with the original zig-zag design, the flag was reimagined in 2021 with accessibility in mind.  

 

The new flag features five diagonal colored stripes on a charcoal gray background. Each of the colors represents a different type of disability, with the diagonal band representing solidarity and cutting across barriers.   

Caption: A charcoal gray flag with a diagonal band from the top left to bottom right corner, made up of five parallel stripes in desaturated red, yellow, white, blue, and green.
The updated Disability Pride flag is a charcoal gray flag with a diagonal band from the top left to bottom right corner, made up of five parallel stripes in desaturated red, yellow, white, blue, and green.

2. Join a Disability Pride Parade

The first Disability Pride parade was held in Boston in 1990. Today, parades and celebrations take place in cities around the country. Chicago, New York, and Lansing, MI are just a few of the cities hosting events this year.  

3. Elevate the voices of people with disabilities

One of the best ways to show your support during Disability Pride Month and beyond is to listen and elevate the voices of people with disabilities. You can read and share books written by authors with disabilities. Or, you might follow blogs, podcasts, and social media pages run by creators with disabilities 

4. Shop with pride

Another way to celebrate individuals with disabilities and honor their contributions is to shop disability-owned businesses. Whether you’re looking for something for your home or a gift for a friend, start by checking out these disability-owned businesses first.  

5. Call or email your representatives

Disability Pride Month isn’t just about celebrating victories like the ADA. It’s also about continuing to advocate for disability rights and inclusion.  

 

Join the fight by calling or emailing your representatives and letting them know you support more inclusive policies, like fully funding Medicaid HCBS and supporting the direct care workforce. This advocacy tool from ANCOR makes it easy to compose your message and send it to the right people.  

Download the free Disability Events calendar

It doesn’t matter if you march in a Disability Pride parade or pick up the phone and call your congressperson — there’s no wrong way to celebrate Disability Pride Month. For more disability-related events and observances you can participate in all year, download our free Disability Events Calendar. 

Free Resource: 2024 Disability Events Calendar
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