“The origins of Disability Pride Month can be traced back to the year the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Years later, in 2016, a disabled woman named Ann Magill created a Disability Pride flag to celebrate the community. I loved hearing her story about how the flag came to be.” -Emily Ladau
Disability Pride began as a day, July 26, 1990, to commemorate the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Over time, that single day grew to a month of celebration, resulting in July being recognized as Disability Pride Month. It’s a worthy upgrade, but most important, a great start. Because there’s no reason to limit Pride to a single month out of the year. Here, activist Emily Ladau, author of Demystifying Disability leads us through the history of the movement and how we can make Disability Pride an essential part of our lives—and communities—year round.
Image by Ann Magill
EL: “Celebrating Disability Pride Month is bittersweet this year, as it’s the first one following the loss of Judy Heumann, known as the mother of the disability rights movement. I’m so very lucky to have been able to call her a mentor and a friend. Her fight changed the world, and her story is one that I hope will be passed down through generations.”
EL: “Disability Pride Month is a time for the disability community to celebrate our identities, history, and culture. It’s also a time for nondisabled people to take action to become stronger allies to the disability community. I’m proud to have had the opportunity to share a bit of my story.”
EL: “Learning the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights law passed on July 26, 1990, is an essential starting point for understanding why July is recognized as Disability Pride Month.”
EL: “Diving a little bit deeper into discussion of disability pride, this podcast features a wide-ranging conversation with two incredible disabled people, Ryan Easterly and Justice Shorter. They both share their experiences as Black disabled people who are part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community and reflect on how they find joy in disability identity and culture.”
EL: “Looking to learn more about disability? This in-depth round-up has plenty of books to add to your reading list. (I’m only a little biased in sharing since my book made the cut!)”
EL: “Audiobooks more your thing? This list is a great place to start.”
EL: “In a world that so often sends the message that disability is something to be ashamed of, feeling pride isn’t always easy. This beautiful poem by the late Laura Hershey is one I come back to time again when I need a bit of help to practice feeling proud.”
Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and her first book, Demystifying Disability, was published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in September 2021. Emily has spoken before numerous audiences, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. Central to all of her work is a focus on and harnessing the power of storytelling as a tool for people to become engaged in disability and social justice issues.