Open Letter from ADA President

To Whom This May Concern:

Disability has many negative connotations and stigma behind it. But many forget that disability affects 10% of the world’s population–roughly 650 million people. It has no race, no ethnicity, no gender, no age. It is literally, the world’s biggest minority group. How can we challenge the stigma of disability and improve awareness of our multifaceted backgrounds?

Our mission is to break down disability barriers and end stigmatization to create an inclusive environment using education. This is a mission that embodies the belief that every one of us can help make this possible and every little step counts. We also recognize that not knowing how to approach a topic can be harmful in areas of stereotyping and language. There are common questions such as “How do I approach someone with a disability,” “What type of language should I use,” etc. etc. These are questions that this site can answer.

Advocacy should be everyone’s biggest goal. To advocate for ourselves and others to help create a safer space for everyone to be in. To have a more accessible campus that unifies and breaks down barriers. For there is no single accepted definition of disability. That does not mean that we cannot unify and accept the multiple experiences of disability and each individual’s approach to their lives.

We need to change the societal norm of automatically underestimating the capabilities of those with disabilities. Though we pursue access and opportunity, there is still a lingering effect that disabled people are incapable though we have a prosthesis, wheelchair, or other assistive devices. Joseph Shapiro states that being disabled actually means to fight someone else’s reality and their attitudes.

~Advocates for Diverse Abilities

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