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According to a recent census, at least 13% of Americans, or more than 42 million people living in the United States, have disabilities that require special assistance. Some of these may include vision, hearing, walking, cognitive, self-care or other difficulties that act as a challenge or are limiting to activities in daily life. 

National Disability Independence Day is here to celebrate these individuals and the freedoms they can experience throughout their lives!

History of National Disability Independence Day

The disability movement in the United States began in the 1960s, including grass roots efforts to debunk the myth that people with disabilities were defective and needed to be segregated from social and civic life. Since that time, people who have disabilities, along with their allies, have been actively working to fight against oppression and discrimination.

National Disability Independence Day is celebrated on this date to commemorate the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which took place on July 26, 1990. This important civil rights law offers protection for the rights of those with disabilities, criminalizing discrimination against them and making a way for their full participation in the communities where they live. In particular, the ADA includes factors such as public accommodation, transportation, employment, government services and much more.

From attending and hosting events to volunteering as an assistant to someone who has a need, there are all sorts of opportunities to show respect for and honor people with disabilities – on National Disability Independence Day as well as all throughout the year!

How to Celebrate National Disability Independence Day

Looking for ideas on how to observe National Disability Independence Day? Check out some of these ways to get started:

Show Support to People with Disabilities

One excellent way to get involved with National Disability Independence Day is to show support for people in the community who have disabilities. This might mean frequenting businesses that actively hire those who face ability challenges or supporting artists in the local area who have disabilities. Even better, share these businesses or artists and post a recommendation online so more people can know about them!

Maintain High ADA Standards

Business owners, managers and local leaders can support National Disability Independence Day by making sure their community is living up to or exceeding expectations set forth by the ADA. Check that buildings are up to code, make events accessible for those with visual or hearing impairments, evaluate effectiveness through focus groups, and offer training to members or employees as needed. 

Host an ADA Anniversary Event

Those who are interested in raising awareness and getting the public involved in National Disability Independence Day might want to host an event that celebrates this day. Different groups of people can work together, including groups from schools, community centers, parent support groups and more. Events can be held to show support for people with disabilities, as well as raising funds through activities such as raffles, 5K runs or selling artwork made by people with disabilities.

The ADA anniversary website offers tool kits to help, with resources that include plans for disability inclusion, themes, awareness calendars, ideas for events and much more. 

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