August 5, 2020

The Disability Rights Movement Needs to Be More Inclusive

By Tracy Allard

With the anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, a lot of disabled people are in an odd position. We’re supposed to be celebrating legislation that’s supposed to ensure accessibility. It’s kind of America’s way of saying “look at what we (able-bodied/neurotypical people) have done for you as a disabled person.” Then we are supposed to clap and cry, or something. However, a lot of people who aren’t in our community don’t understand the ADA.

The Americans With Disabilities Act is supposed to ensure accessibility if you have needs in relation to physically or mentally being in a space. You are supposed to be provided with supports that make these spaces accessible, such as a ramp, an interpreter, or using a stim toy. (Stims/fidgets help people focus and feel comfortable in a physical space.) However, as great as the ADA is, it’s a tad decorative. In the year 2020 many businesses claim they can’t financially handle making buildings accessible. People who need wheelchairs are still harassed if they don’t always need one. People with invisible disabilities are still being told they don’t look disabled or are faking. Fewer than 25% of disabled people attend college. This doesn’t even get into unemployment rates.