WCIL embraces to the concept of Disability Pride. Disability Pride is defined “as accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.” Disability Pride is an integral part of movement building and a direct challenge of systemic ableism and stigmatizing definitions of disability.
So What Does Disability Pride Mean?
Since disability pride is a fairly new concept, it is important for people with disabilities to be proudly visible in the community. The disability pride movement wants to present people with disabilities as people living their lives in plain view proud of their identity as being disabled. Using bold images and strong words, disability pride awareness dates, parades, and festivals both uplift and challenge. Pride comes from celebrating our heritage, disability culture, the unique experiences that we have as people with disabilities, and the contributions that we can give to society.
Many times people think about a disability as a medical diagnosis. “My disability is a spinal cord injury” or “my disability is depression” or “my disability is a brain injury.” Disability is more than just the physical and/or mental effects on the body, disability is more than the pills that you take, or the doctor that you go to. It’s actually a part of who you are. However, a disability is not the only identity you have, of course you have others such as being male or female, black or white, short or tall, each one is important. All of your identities are important and are valued at WCIL.
Challenging Negative Attitudes About Disabled People
Disabled people are the largest and most diverse minority within the population representing all ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. Yet disabled people are often not thought of as equals or valued members of society. At WCIL, every day we work to challenge negative attitudes and preconceptions of what it means to be disabled in our city, county, state, country and world community.
At WCIL, we encourage people who access our programs and services to be proud of who they are and embrace their disability. “As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As long as disabled people remain ashamed of who they are, they will never realize the true equality and freedom they can achieve. We must first take pride in ourselves as a community. We must no longer be ashamed of being disabled.
Adapted from Disabled World Towards Tomorrow: www.disabled-world.com/definitions/disability-pride.php