Celebrate National Disability Independence Day with Maple
Celebrate the National Disability Independence Day with Maple on 26th July 2023.
This coming July 26th will mark the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans Disability Act (ADA) which established the annual celebration of National Disability Independence Day in the USA. Half a world away in Australia, we stand united with our friends in the US to commemorate what was quoted as “the world’s first declaration of equality for people with disabilities.”
National Disability Independence Day in America falls annually on 26th July. On this day, we acknowledge the advancements the Americans Disability Act made in promoting the rights of people living with disabilities. We celebrate the progress since the ADA’s milestone, which symbolises the ongoing fight for inclusion and equality.
Our path towards securing dignity and autonomy for those living with disabilities has been remarkable, yet we still have a significant journey ahead of us. It can often be disheartening to witness the inequality that those with disabilities face, making it all the more crucial to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come, celebrate our victories and inspire us to persevere.
What is National Disability Independence Day?
The concept of the Americans with Disability Act originated in 1988 as a means to advance the achievements of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and expand the rights of the disability community through comprehensive legislation.
The bill was successfully passed through Congress with robust support from the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. On 26th July 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disability Act into law, declaring this significant occasion as National Disability Independence Day across the US.
The ADA was the first legislation of its kind to promote accessibility, equality, and independence for people with disabilities. Although it still has a lot of room for improvement, it paved the way for more inclusive communities worldwide.
Why is National Disability Independence Day celebrated?
The ADA has had a monumental impact on the disability community since its inception, creating a path for life-altering changes. In its primitive state it included reform such as:
- Structural enhancements and apparatus to make public spaces more accessible.
- The introduction of sign language interpretation on a larger scale.
- Increased employment opportunities for those with disabilities.
- Educational assistance such as large print textbooks and audio description devices.
By celebrating National Disability Independence Day annually we can shine a light on what the ADA did for the disability community in America, continue to raise awareness around disability, advocate for equality and inclusion, reduce stigma and misinformation and continue to promote better access and dignity for all.
How can Australians celebrate National Disability Independence Day?
National Disability Independence Day is not limited to Americans alone; it is an occasion that transcends borders and invites us all to recognise its significance. Regardless of nationality, we can all come together to honour the principles and values it represents. Whenever there is a reason to uplift the disability community and shed light on our journey, it becomes an opportunity to join in and embrace the spirit of inclusivity.
There are many meaningful ways we, as Australians, can participate in National Disability Independence Day:
We can use social media platforms, local events and community gatherings as a means to raise awareness about the significance of the day. We can share stories and information about the ADA and what Australia has achieved throughout our own history.
We can plan or participate in events, local, online or internationally that promote inclusivity and celebrate diversity. Events can include panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions and workshops that showcase stories and celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities.
Support Disability Organisations
We can volunteer with or donate to disability focused organisations and charities that work towards promoting equality and opportunities for people with disabilities. We could also use this as an opportunity to organise fund-raising initiatives to support the work they do.
Share your Story
Sharing our personal stories can be a powerful way to reduce stigma and create understanding, empathy and solidarity within our communities. Whether you share your own or encourage others to do so, you can use social media, blogs, public speaking events to raise awareness.
You can find all the National Disability Independence Day events, whether in person or online listed on the ADA website.
You may find the ADA Twitter Chat held on Thursday July 20th 2023 as a useful way to connect with other individuals, organisations, and groups in the disability community. Or you could celebrate the Disability Pride Month with Phi Theta Kappa on July 26th 2023.
However you choose to celebrate National Disability Independence Day, remember you don’t have to limit your efforts to a single day. Watch out for other opportunities throughout the year with Maple Community Services.