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AST Celebrates Disability Pride Month and the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

By: Aylin Dunham
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As a video accessibility provider, AST has always been committed to improving lives and expanding learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Part of this mission revolves around spreading awareness about current events and changes in the disability world. For this reason, AST’s team is excited to celebrate Disability Pride Month, as well as honor the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with you this July.

In the US alone, at least 25% of adults have a disability, and on an international level, hundreds of thousands of people make up the disability community, contributing to a significant portion of the general population overall. Both the ADA and Disability Pride Month are celebrated each year in solidarity. While ADA law is applicable only in the US, its passage is often seen as a global symbol of hope and solidarity for the disability community worldwide.

It’s important to celebrate and share its significance with others, but also note there is much more that can be done to expand on the essence of this holiday. This Disability Pride Month, we encourage you to become more informed about current accessibility practices and policies, to recognize any gaps with an aim to fix them and provide greater equity to all individuals.

A Quick History Lesson On The ADA and Disability Pride Month

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The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was first enacted in 1990, and was a major stride for justice in the disability community. With the passage of the act, persons with disabilities would now be protected from discrimination in different areas of everyday public life, including transportation, employment, state and local government services, and public accommodations.

While the ADA would still need to be developed and enforced in the coming years, this passage helped to acknowledge the struggle of the disability community, as well as helped to highlight the years of advocacy that disability and social justice communities had worked so hard to bring to the minds of government officials. In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was also passed, expanding on the definition of disability so that more people could benefit from the titles outlined in the original ADA.

Disability Pride Month began shortly after the initial passage of the ADA when Bostonians first celebrated Disability Pride Day the same month it was passed. What began as merely a day-long celebration has now evolved into the month-long commemoration we recognize today, honoring not only the passage of the ADA, but also the people who have come to utilize and benefit from its enforcement across all areas of public accommodation.

In some states, Disability Pride Month has even been officially recognized. For example, New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, would declare July as the city’s Disability Pride Month in 2015, highlighting the ADA’s 25th anniversary. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the parade for Disability Pride Month was postponed this year until 2022, but that hasn’t stopped others in the community from celebrating online. The hashtag #DisabilityPrideMonth continues to be used across various social media platforms, with thousands of people sharing their disability stories with others.

Join The Celebration

Make an effort to interact more with disability leaders and individuals with disabilities themselves who are open to sharing their thoughts and experiences. Getting a true pulse and the perspectives of these individuals will surely spark some ideas.

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There are several events being hosted online that you can attend, such as the ADA Anniversary Update Webinar being hosted by representatives of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on July 20th. Dozens of articles and videos related to the ADA are also published on the Americans With Disabilities Act National Network website for additional review. While a lot of events are focused on the history of the ADA, this month isn’t only about disability history and legislation. In addition to celebrating the ADA, we also appreciate the incredibly diverse disability culture, artistry, and educational leadership that have helped shape today’s disability forecast.

AST Values Diversity And The Disability Community

AST is committed to promoting diversity in the disability community by helping school and business leaders across the US, UK, Australia and Canada ensure they are meeting the needs of students, professionals and consumers with disabilities. We strive to implement the values reflected in the ADA and Disability Pride Month in our everyday practices, including when hiring new team members.

For example, some of our top team members also happen to be blind or have low vision, and it is thanks to their experience and feedback that we continue to improve AST’s accessibility practices and policies each day. AST provides video accessibility services, including captioning and transcription, that help to provide effective accommodation in online media. If you have any questions about the ADA and video accessibility, we would love to help you or your team get started.