July is Disability Pride Month– an important month in the history of disability rights ever since President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law in 1990 which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities..
July 1 was also the kick off of the 2nd annual Power in Pride Celebration Conversation Series, hosted by Marie Dagenais-Lewis, an artist who is disabled and living with MHE, hEDS, ME/CFS, POTS, PTSD and HM.
The conversation focused on what disability pride means and why it’s crucial to dismantling traditional ableist society.
“To me, Disability Pride is the difference between loathing yourself and starting to love yourself,” said Dagenais-Lewis.
Dr. Amy Kenny is a disabled scholar, Shakespeare lecturer and author. During the conversation, she shared that Disability Pride has been a journey for her:
“There are so many different examples of how disability is radiant. I started to invite myself to apply that same thinking to my own body and mind,” she said.
Nicole Luongo is a disability advocate, author, speaker and writer. She said in the conversation that Disability Pride is something that can’t be taken away from members in the community.
For her, Disability Pride is about acceptance. “If other people can’t accept it, that’s just their problem, because my disability is not going anywhere,” she said.
Cara Yar Khan is a disability advocate, international speaker and film producer. She believes that Disability Pride is not stagnant, but flourishing.
“It’s a joy and a privilege of being feisty and unapologetic– especially in the face of stigma and discrimination,” she said in the conversation.
New York City resident Lucy Trieshmann also shared her thoughts. She recently was the victim of a hate crime on the basis of her disability.
“Rather than destroy my faith in society, this incident solidified it because my community came together to uplift me in the aftermath,” she said.
Trieshmann adds that this experience taught her that disabled people show up for each other in any circumstances.