People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in this country. Over 50 million humans live with at least one disability. In our home, each member of our beautiful family lives with a disability.
Unfortunately, this country has a lot to learn. Our nation is grossly uneducated and misinformed about disability. Stereotypes, bias, discrimination, and ableism run rampant in our world. Disabled people are forced to advocate for basic human rights, literally every day. It’s exhausting and honestly, it takes more spoons than most of us have.
Access. Equality. Inclusion. Dignity. Respect.
These rights are literally the staple of being an American, yet not all Americans are granted these rights. We are humans that are being misrepresented and it’s not only hurting us, but also our country.
We are treated as less than more times than not. Our people are exploited, abused, shamed, and pitied. We are often used as pawns for inspiration or looked at as burdens on society, but the burden is not on us, it’s on those that refuse to see as whole humans. It’s on those that refuse to educate themselves properly. We humans have a right to anything and everything all other humans have. Healthcare, education, communication, transportation, community involvement, and access to state and government programs and services.
Thanks to advocates and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 people with disabilities were allowed to assign trusted individuals to assist them at the polls. Then in 1984 the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act was passed into law. This act was instrumental in making sure polling stations were accessible for all. We’ve come a long way, yet we still have so much more to go. Real change comes with action. So, we rise and we march on for much needed change.
When we know more; we do more and it starts with being an ally for those living with disabilities. Actively listening to the issues that are disabling an already disabled part of our population. Educating ourselves on disability etiquette and proper disability representation. That is what’s truly needed to effect real change.
Here’s something to think on, disability can happen to anyone at any time. No human is immune. We are all just one accident or incident away from living a totally different life. What a lot of other humans don't realize is that we are more than the labels we are assigned and boxed into. We are humans who all want to live freely and with purpose. Without a purpose, people fail to thrive. When people fail to thrive, they lose hope. For so many of us, hope is all we have, we can’t afford to lose hope.
We face all the same challenges that non disabled humans do, but with more stigma attached to us. We are beautiful and unique humans, all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. The key word here is human. I personally don't think that millions of humans failing to thrive seems like a good thing for America.