June is LGBTQ Pride Month, but this week, Philadelphians will celebrate another oft-marginalized community, too, with Disability Pride.
The national event series honors the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990 to protect those with disabilities from discrimination in public spaces, as well as in employment and transportation.
Locally, the seventh annual week aims to redefine “disability” and to foster community. This year’s events, with a theme of “Celebrate Our Differences/End Stigma,” include:
- Disability Pride Flag Raising Ceremony (Monday, June 11, City Hall)
- Screenings of “The Rebound,” about the basketball team Miami Heat Wheels (Tuesday, June 12, PhillyCAM)
- Disability Pride Art Day (Wednesday, June 13, City Hall)
- Happy hour (Friday, June 15, The Field House)
The week culminates in the Disability Pride March of Solidarity from the National Constitution Center to City Hall on Saturday, June 16. (There will also be an LGBTQIA+ section of the parade in coordination with LGBT Pride Month.)
In September 2017, the City of Philadelphia expanded its commitment to citizens with disabilities by establishing the Mayor’s Office on People with Disabilities, which lives within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and provides additional, compliance-focused leadership beyond the existing Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities.
Disability Pride Philadelphia Director Vicki Landers said the city is doing a few particular things well in serving those with disabilities.
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“I believe that the curb cuts and snow removal programs are working,” she wrote in an email. “Uber is accessible. We have more support from city officials for Disability Pride.”
An area where Philadelphia is struggling, however, is in allocating resources to accessible housing, Landers said.
“Accessible housing is a huge issue; [Disabled in Action] has been protesting at City Council all week,” she said. “Our Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities office was supposed to get more funding last year, it has not happened!”
According to a February 2018 Philly.com report on the city’s scarcity of emergency and affordable housing, in fiscal year 2017, 479 people who identified themselves as disabled were accepted into the shelter system, which is almost constantly full.-30-
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