Did you know October was Disability Employment Month? So how did the disability community get to where they are today? History of the Disability Rights Movement began back in the early 1800s with the opening of the first school opening for the Deaf and Hard of hearing community as well as in early 1900s with World War I, where veterans returned home with permanent injuries and disabilities as a result of battle trauma with no supports available to support them in transitioning back into community, or their previous life that would forever be affected from their service. This same fight continues today, but in different contexts: one of those being employment. Currently, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities is twice as high as those without disability, with the employment rate being slightly higher for men than women. In 2019, the employment rate overall for persons with disabilities ages 16-64 was 30.9% nationwide. As a non-profit organization we are proud to be a part of the change to increase the employment rate for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and appreciate our patrons and supporters who form our community to aid in that change.
Many historical events happened in our nation’s captial Washington D.C. including what is known to be the peak of the Disability Rights Movement that pushed the final vote in the Senate to sign and pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. In March 1990, persons with all disabilities marched along the streets of Washington D.C. and those with physical disabilities crawled the steps of the Captial building demanding the ADA be signed to grant all persons with disabilities civil rights to have access to commercial facilities, transportation, communication devices, and prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in employment within State and local government positions. Access the full video following this link.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 granted and established persons with disabilities equal access to: public transit and housing, allocated federal money for vocational training, and provided equal opportunity for employment within federal government and federally-funded programs. It is through this act that much more services were provided to persons of all ages with disabilities to be integrated into community and workplace settings, independent living opportunities, and be included with public transportation systems to get around as independently as possible.
To continue this important work, our mission is to train and employ persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in an effort to change the mindset of society, one cup of coffee at a time. But we cannot do it with coffee alone so we have some advocacy to share too. Stay tuned for more education and updates in our Ethan & the Brain series.
References: U.S. Department of Justice (2020). A guide to disability rights laws. Civil Rights Division: Disability Rights Section. Retrieved from https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019). Persons with a disability: Labor force characteristics- 2019. U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/disabl.pdf