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June 18, 2019In The News

It’s Not Just About Disability Inclusion, It’s About Disability Pride Too

Mosaic of 5 photos: woman holds sign of "pride in asl", wheelchair user has sign sayin "not your inspiration" at their feet, man with sandwich sign saying "Qualified individual with invisible disabilities," woman holding sign saying "protect black disabled women's lives, three trans people holding sign saying "trans, disabled and proud."

So often, we fight for inclusion without taking the time to envelop ourselves in joy. So fraught with the desire to exercise equal rights, we forget that what we truly want is peace of mind and the opportunity to experience happiness in our own environments without the prospect of inaccessibility keeping us from the dreams and goals we are aiming to achieve. That is why spaces like Philadelphia’s Disability Pride Parade are so important. It gives disabled people an opportunity to meet one another and form communities of understanding—even delving a bit into joy as well!

This year, Disability Rights Pennsylvania had the great privilege of participating in the Disability Pride Parade’s in Center City Philadelphia. Making our way from the Constitution Center to City Hall, you couldn’t help but be enveloped in the excitement of being surrounded by your peers in such numbers. Members of the parade were not merely a part of a rallying cry to have their rights and autonomy respected, we were finding happiness in one another’s presence and making necessary connections.

As important as It is to write our legislators, call our representatives and fight for our inclusion, moments like these are just as necessary. It is necessary that we find one another. It is necessary that we are in one another’s presence. It is necessary that we not only defend our dignity, but experience joy at one another’s side. Our existence in one another’s lives can lessen the burden the idea we’re alone places upon our shoulders.

This is why music from artists with disabilities is as important as protests, why dancing with mobility aids is as important as contacting senators, why laughter is as important as voting.

We thank the organizers of the Philadelphia for providing the space for these moments of levity and balance and cannot wait for next year.