MADD is Here for All logoOn July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The law provides individuals with disabilities, rights and basic needs, including the right to discrimination-free employment. This was a major milestone in American history for the government to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the United States.  Since then, July 26 has become National Disability Independence Day to mark the anniversary of the signature of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The celebration was extended after a dad in New York, Mike LeDonne, whose daughter was born with a rare disease, learned about the stigmas of individuals with disabilities and began planning events in New York, specifically a parade to drive inclusion and awareness to individuals like his daughter.   In 2015, New York City Mayor de Blasio declared the month of July as “Disability Pride Month ” in honor of the Americans With Disabilities Act’s (ADA) 25th anniversary.

Disability Pride has been defined as accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity. It is a movement meant to dismantle disability stereotypes and misconceptions, using disability inclusive language within the workplace and learning the importance of workplace champions.

Want to know what you can do to help?  

Use inclusive language – Words are powerful and choosing the right ones can seem daunting, especially as we interact with new people. How can we show kindness and respect, when we are not sure what to say? Appreciate the skills, talents, and abilities we all have by using language that brings out the best in everyone.

  • Person-first language. Addressing the person first, rather than the disability, shows respect. Humanizing phrases emphasize the person even if the adjective of the disability is included. See me – not my disability.
    • Refer to a person’s disability only when it is related to what you are talking about.
    • Listen and choose the words that an individual prefers. Each person is unique.
  • Good intentions. If you do not know what to say – ask. Do not be afraid to admit when you do not know something. Asking politely is better than assuming or potentially saying something that may be hurtful.  Support open dialogue and use resources to learn and grow to include everyone.  Examples include:
    • Can you help me understand?
    • I have a question.
    • Would you like my help?
    • Do you have any preferred terms?
  • Words to avoid.
    • Handicapped
    •  Differently-abled
    •  Unfortunate
    • Special needs

Get involved

Every year, more than 300,000 people are injured in drunk and drugged driving crashes. Many are left with life-long mental, emotional, and physical disabilities as a result.  MADD provides free victims’ services to injured victims/survivors and their families.  If you or someone you know has been injured in an impaired driving crash, contact us at tn.state@madd.org or call our 24/7 Victim Helpline at 1-877-MADD-HELP.