Chicago’s Disability Pride Parade is on Saturday, July 23, 2016, stepping off promptly at 11 a.m. Hooray!
What does Disability Pride mean to me? It means being proud to be yourself without fear of being judged. Being willing to stand up for who you are. Being brave by showing you are not afraid. Being willing to talk about what challenges you face and show how you defy the odds and live a life that is always worth living. In my mind the Disability Pride Parade is a way to showcase the additional abilities of people with disabilities. It’s a chance to show people without disabilities that we are just as important as they are.
The very first Disability Pride Parade happened in Boston, Massachusetts in 1990. On that day, the organizers expected a turnout of 500 to 600 people, however, almost 2,000 came. Since then, more cities such as Chicago (our first was in 2004) have their own Pride Parades and it has grown and grown. The mission is to encourage the belief in society that a disability is stunning and a natural part of human diversity that allows people who have them to take pride.
The impact on the disability community in my mind can be best described by the band Grouplove’s song “Ways to Go” “…I’ve got a little bit longer, I’ve got a ways to go.” We may have come a long way, but we have “a ways to go” before people with disabilities are fully accepted.
I have been to the Chicago Disability Pride Parade and it is fun. People of all disabilities and others can go and it’s easy to get to. You can use Chicago’s public transportation to get to and from the parade. Service animals are allowed, but they do not allow pets. It’s nice to see many people coming together to celebrate people with disabilities. Join us Saturday!
By Adrian Drower