It’s interesting what you learn while researching for a blog. For example, I had no idea there are so many holidays and observances in the United States. Did you know July 3rd is Compliment Your Mirror Day? It’s a thing. Actually, it’s a pretty cool initiative to raise perceptions of self-worth and self-love. July also boasts a World Emoji Day: An entire day dedicated to paying homage to emojis. Our Founding Fathers would be so proud. July is a month full of holidays and observances, and there are a couple of holidays I want to focus on: Disability (ADA) Awareness Day (July 16th) and the 29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26th).
Disability (ADA) Awareness Day
According to Disabled World, “the biggest barriers people with disabilities encounter are other people.” It’s okay if you need a moment to digest that short sentence. I needed several. Why do you think that is? Is it because people tend to distance themselves from the unfamiliar and unknown? In some fields, this would fall under Uncertainty Reduction Theory. The theory suggests that as a rule, people do not like uncertainty and will go to great lengths to avoid or eliminate it. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: Education. That’s what Disability (ADA) Awareness Day on July 16th is all about. Disabled World says, “Disability Awareness means educating people regarding disabilities and giving people the knowledge required to carry out a job or task thus separating good practice from poor. It is no longer enough just to know that disability discrimination is unlawful.” I’m not suggesting we hit the books and don’t resurface until we know all there is to know about every type of disability. What I am suggesting is asking questions. Ask people or do the Millennial Special: Google it. There is an entire world of information out there, and a few answered questions could go a long way in breaking down some barriers.
29th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
In order to ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA covers all aspects of public life: work, school, transportation, and any place that is open to the general public. This piece of legislation is a big deal deserving much celebration. There’s a whole pool of interesting information in the ADA, but we’re just going to get our feet wet.
Here’s a quick look into the ADA:
- Title I: Employment (all about equal employment opportunities and benefits).
- Title II: Public Services: State and Local Government (prohibits discrimination based on disability).
- Title III: Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities (prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities and sets a minimum standard for accessibility- online services fall under this title. If you have questions about your website and the standards of accessibility, please contact our team).
- Title IV: Telecommunications (Requires phone and internet companies to provide a nationwide and interstate system that allows people with hearing or speech disabilities to communicate and requires closed captioning of public service announcements).
- Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions (This is where they put all other provisions relating to the ADA).
The ADA Anniversary is celebrated partly to bring awareness to all the great work that’s been done to promote equal opportunity for people with disabilities, and partly to underline all the work that still needs to be done. It’s a great way to mark progress while keeping in mind how far we still must go.
Written by Bethany Ortiz