Each year in July, we celebrate Disability Pride Month.
This celebration initially started in 1990—the year that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The first official celebration of Disability Pride Month occurred in July 2015, which marked the 25th anniversary of the ADA. Since then, cities across the country have celebrated Disability Pride Month with parades and other festivities.
For more than four decades, we at Open Door have been dedicated to our mission of inspiring life journeys for adults with disabilities in central Ohio while cultivating valued roles for all people. We do this every day through a variety of residential services, community-based adult day programs, employment services, and accessible transportation options.
We choose to celebrate Disability Pride Month because:
- We’re proud of the individuals we support
- Our mindset is focused on affirming their needs and goals
- We know that every person is valuable, with a unique story, desires, and ambitions
This is particularly true for the folks we support who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. Marcie, an individual in our Supported Community Living program, is a member of the trans community and has faced significant difficulties getting the care and basic respect she deserves.
Other providers she worked with did not understand that she identified as female and were unwilling to help with her goal of changing her name.
Then Marcie came to Open Door.
Our staff diligently helped her fill out applications, find proper documentation, and make court visits. And recently, her name change became official.
We were proud to help Marcie express her identity!
“I finally felt like a whole person,” she said. “I had a lot of help from my staff. They were always there for me.”
An integral part of our organization’s mission is to reduce barriers to accessibility through advocacy—and we take pride not only in advocating for people with disabilities but also helping them advocate for themselves. An essential part of that is our Open Door Advocacy Group, which is comprised of many individuals we support, including Marcie, who participate in many of our service programs.
The group works together to support issues and causes that are important to their lives: This can involve everything from attending local events, promoting disability rights in their community, and even organizing group trips to advocate at the Ohio Statehouse.
As we celebrate Disability Pride Month, Open Door recognizes the immense value of the diversity of the individuals we support. We’ll continue to inspire and affirm others while advocating to make our community a safer, more accessible place for all.