On June 17, 2017, JEVS clients, participants, staff and volunteers proudly took part in Philadelphia’s Disability Pride. A full week’s worth of activities, Disability Pride events began with a flag-raising, included sign-painting, resource and information gathering, and culminated in a march and festival. According to organizers, Disability Pride seeks to be part of “movement building – accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.”
The activities of Disability Pride are meant to build awareness, and change the way that people think about and define disability; to end shame, and build self-advocacy; and to reinforce that people with disabilities are part of the broader, diverse human community.
To that end, we asked two marchers–and JEVS Human Services program participants–to tell us about the march, in their own words.
“I wanted to march to commemorate and support Disability Pride. I didn’t know what to expect; I had only ever been to a march-style parade when the Phillies won the World Series! I liked that you could walk on the street with no cars, but I really liked that people who might not think about what a disability is every day would be able to understand it. People would see that we live and laugh and love just like everyone else–that we matter and are part of society. I would absolutely march again.” – Jon, 28, member of JEVS’ Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN)
“I marched to support disability rights. It was nice to see that we’re a part of many communities–at PIN, among our peers here, and in the community at large. It helps to raise awareness. In five years’ time, I’d love to see more access–keeping opportunities open to people with disabilities, and to all who need services. That could be employment, health care and more–all the opportunities that allow someone to live life to the fullest.” – Laura, 33, member of JEVS’ Philadelphia Independence Network (PIN)
We appreciate and salute the great marchers, festival participants and attendees, our caring staff and Disability Pride Philadelphia for creating an unforgettable experience and who continue to “make independence happen.”