Melwood Disability Pride Month Message
July 12, 2022
March 13, 1990, was a historic day for the disability community. More than one thousand people marched from the White House to the U.S. Capitol to demand that Congress pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The most dramatic moment of the protest happened when approximately 60 marchers discarded their wheelchairs and other mobility aides to begin the “Capitol Crawl.” They crawled up the Capitol steps, physically demonstrating how difficult inaccessible buildings are for people who cannot walk without assistance.
Four months later, on July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law. July is Disability Pride Month, which is a time to recognize and celebrate how disability is a natural part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.
The Disability Pride Flag was created by Ann Magill, a disabled woman, and each of its elements symbolizes a different part of the disability community.
The Black Field: this field represents the disabled people who have lost their lives due not only to their illness, but also to violence, negligence, and suicide.
The Colors: Each color on this flag represents a different aspect of disability or impairment.
Red: physical disabilities
Yellow: cognitive and intellectual disabilities
White: invisible and undiagnosed disabilities
Blue: mental illness
Green: sensory perception disabilities
The purpose of Disability Pride Month is to amplify the voices of people with disabilities and to help others view disabilities as a natural part of human diversity. To live with a disability is to be a highly-evolved problem solver. It requires creative thinking to learn how to navigate in a world that is often not accepting of physical or mental differences. There should be no stigma. Instead, we should celebrate and honor the uniqueness of our community. Disability Pride Month offers that opportunity.
When I think about what the marchers must have felt as they worked their way towards the U.S. Capitol, some literally crawling, I am overcome with admiration. There have been many changes since then because of their bravery; but we have a long way to go before we live in a truly inclusive world.
Melwood is proud to join in and support Disability Pride Month. As we commemorate our history, I challenge all of us to carry the spirit of the month every day of the year. Thank you for the work that you do.
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
Vice President of Government and Public Relations