Largest minority group looking for ways to pay Uncle Sam.
Contrary to Dori’s famous motto “just keep swimming, just keep swimming” in the movie Finding Nemo, I constantly find myself saying “just keep rolling, just keep rolling” when I encounter an uphill climb in life or on campus.
October is Disability Awareness Month. Technically, it’s Disability Employment Awareness Month, but most just use it as an opportunity to raise general awareness about disabilities. In order to raise awareness about disabilities and employment together, this October has been given the motto: a strong workforce is an inclusive workforce.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the National Forum on Disability Issues in Columbus, OH. where inclusion was a reoccurring theme. The Forum featured Ted Kennedy Jr. and Cathy McMorris Rodgers who both spoke about pressing issues impacting the millions of Americans with disabilities. Kennedy, who has specialized in disability law throughout the bulk of his career, and McMorris Rodgers who serves as a United States Representative in Congress and is the mother of a five-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, discussed programs and policies revolving around education, housing, employment and healthcare.
While sitting in the audience listening to two well-respected individuals speak about matters that directly affect my life, I couldn’t help but think shouldn’t we all be concerned with education, employment, healthcare and housing?
I realize they aren’t always glamorous, but they are vital to our survival.
Of course, when you combine disability with some of these topics it brings up whole new set of questions that need to be addressed. There are added elements of accessibility, medical challenges and the need to battle some of established perceptions society has about disabilities.
People with disabilities constitute the world’s largest minority group. In fact, one in five Americans are living with a disability. Given the prevalence of disabilities it makes the policies and programs designed to help those affected by them imperative.
Throughout the Forum, Kennedy and McMorris focused most of their efforts on an issue of concern for most of us on campus and across the country – employment. Although the population of people with disabilities continues to grow, it’s a common trend for people who have physical or cognitive disabilities to be the last to enter the workforce.
Kennedy even joked, people with disabilities are the only people he knows who, more often than not, are looking for ways to pay Uncle Sam. As sad as that is, in a lot of ways it is true.
Perhaps more importantly though, people with disabilities just want to be included and have opportunities to provide for themselves. As I work toward a bachelor’s degree and then onto my master’s it’s daunting to think about the uphill climb or roll, I guess you could say, that so many of us face in employment.
Regardless of the things that people with disabilities may struggle to do, I hope this month serves as opportunity to showcase our capabilities.
Throughout the month, in effort to increase disability awareness, I will be discussing a few myths that society has about disabilities.
Ms. Wheelchair Michigan 2012
Pictures of the Year 2012-2013
10:30 am | Team Hope Walk for Huntington's Disease
6:30 pm | Broadway Theatre - Anything Goes
8:00 am | MBA Information Meeting: AM session
10:00 am | SAP Farm Stand
5:30 pm | MBA Information Meeting: PM Session
No events for Wed