The annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
It is safe to say that each of us knows personally or is acquainted with someone living with a disability. Disabled persons face many challenges in their daily life, while grappling with stigmas, ignorance and lack of access to basic rights that able bodied people take for granted. Some of these challenges entail job discrimination, accessible transportation, dating and predetermination of what can be accomplished.
In my own life, I am grateful for my friends and family who have always played an integral role in my support system. Without their support, I may not have adjusted to my life as it is today. Additionally, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has helped open doors for disabled people and provided me with wheelchair access to cultural venues, restaurants and businesses. I can’t imagine how depressing my life would be had I not been able to view art, listen to my favorite bands or eat in the finest restaurants. It is those simple pleasures and conveniences for which I am grateful to this country. The US recognizes the rights of disabled people and works to improve benefits accessible by all of us, including the elderly and families who travel with strollers.
So much has changed since 1990, especially in the past 5 years. The media has finally taken note of people living with disabilities. They are represented on TV, movies, fashion runways, TED Talks, politics, Broadway and other media streams.
Recently Yahoo! Lifestyle contacted five disabled influencers, including me, who have put their indelible mark on the world despite their disability. We were interviewed, filmed and photographed in honor of International Day of Disabled Persons at Yahoo’s corporate office in NYC. Each of us attending had an important message and viewpoint to share about our disability. We discussed how our online presence inspires and educates people about how we manage our day to day lives, which can sometimes be challenging. Each of us possesses a singular voice, as do all people living with a disability. Mine happens to incorporate fashion and humor in an unapologetic, irreverent way.
A yahoo to Yahoo! for highlighting this momentous day and for inviting me to participate in this project. Hoping this is a watershed moment in disability rights, especially in light of the current administration. The momentum of progress of the ADA (American Disabilities Act) must continue and flourish.