On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. Every July following this momentous day, Disability Pride Month is celebrated. According to ada.gov, the ADA guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to enjoy employment opportunities, purchase goods and services, and participate in state and local government programs.
To celebrate Disability Pride Month, two artists from the Goodwill Columbus Art Studio and Gallery shared what they experience living (proudly) with a disability.
At 75 years old, JoJo Morton reflected on her childhood when she was often made fun of by peers. She would be called names as she got onto the bus for school and frequently felt sad from being left out. Her family did everything they could to cheer her on so that she would see her worth and the talents she possesses. When thinking about what she would want to share with members of society that don’t live with a disability she powerfully expressed “Yes, I do have a disability – but I can do anything! I’m human just like anybody else. You don’t know what we can do, don’t label us!”
Similar to JoJo, 21-year-old Larken Janson-Tidd has dealt with feeling excluded by peers throughout her life and expressed “I appreciate people getting to know me and not just my disability.” To help others learn about the importance of inclusion and celebrating each other for our differences, Larken wrote a book titled “Let’s Be Friends”. JoJo and Larken share the same sentiment of wanting to be seen for who they are, not just being seen for disabilities.
Both JoJo and Larken have overcome many things and have a lot to be proud of. For Larken it was having to relearn to walk twice in her life to now having a job where she has a better sense of independency. And JoJo has become confident in advocating for herself and growing in her skills that led her to being able to have her own apartment. JoJo shared that she uses her disability to prove to herself that she is a champion – that right there is disability pride.
Looking for ways to celebrate Disability Pride Month? Check out this article from Enabling Devices for ways to learn and celebrate! – https://enablingdevices.com/blog/eight-ways-to-celebrate-disability-pride-month/