It’s Disability Pride Month & Minority Mental Health Awareness Month!

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It’s Disability Pride Month & Minority Mental Health Awareness Month!

Categories: News

In July, we are celebrating Disability Pride Month & National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Both of these months aim to honor communities and draw attention to issues we often ignore.

Disability Pride Month

Since 1990, Disability Pride Month has honored people with disabilities and seeks to end the stigmas associated with disability. People with disabilities make up 15% of the world’s population and, in the United States, 1 in 4 adults have some type of disability.  

Despite the fact that ableism and racism go hand-in-hand, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not include people with disabilities. It was not until 1973 that the Rehabilitation Act – the first federal legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability related to federal programs, services, and employment – was passed. 

And, it took nearly two decades more for expanded protections, with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA greatly expanded protections to include matters of physical accessibility, transportation, employment, government services, and other areas of public life.  

While the ADA is widely viewed as landmark legislation, it should be considered the floor, rather than the ceiling. Implementation and compliance with ADA standards remains inadequate, particularly for certain communities. For example, low-income people with disabilities face difficulty finding housing that can meet their needs because low-income housing often offers too few options, particularly for people with mobility disabilities.

This month, we call on you to learn more about folks with disabilities and how you can support them. Here are some places to start:

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month

Minority Mental Health Awareness Month is observed each July to bring awareness to the unique struggles that racial and ethnic minority communities face regarding mental illness in the United States. Statistically, minority groups face more significant impacts to their mental health, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For example:

We can and must do better in support of all people’s mental health. As always, here are your calls to action: 

Why It Matters Now

Both of these months aim to honor and bring awareness to communities & individuals who continue to be marginalized in our country. And, while we want to spend this month celebrating and educating, we also want to remember that the rolling back of progress and civil rights for people in this country remains in full swing at our nation’s highest court. 

In recent weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued rulings that have eliminated the consideration of race in higher education admissions; ended protections from discrimination for the LGBTQ+ community; and invalidated the Biden Administration’s student loan forgiveness program.

At the YWCA National Capital Area, we are committed to upholding our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women with the utmost of urgency, especially when our community is experiencing discrimination and adversity. The work of equity building is never done, especially as the Court continues to erect steeper barriers.

The 2024 election cycle has already begun and we hope you are committed to mobilizing our collective power. Join us by getting registered to vote if you are not! We have lots of work to do, but together we can make our voices heard.