Community Encouraged to Participate in Disability Pride Activities
San Luis Obispo, CA – Since the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, July has been recognized as Disability Pride Month: a time for celebrating the diverse experiences, accomplishments and history of people with disabilities. Affecting more than one in four Americans (27% per CDC, 2023), disability is the largest, most diverse minority, intersecting with all other marginalized groups or social identities. SLO Access for All (AFA), a field of interest fund of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, advocates for an accessible, diverse and welcoming community that values disability as diversity and encourages the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of SLO County living.
“Disability is the minority anyone can join at any time,” said AFA fund committee Co-Chair John Lee. “So the ADA is ultimately there for all of us whenever we may need it, making it something worth celebrating by all.”
Taking time to recognize and celebrate disability as a natural part of the diverse human experience brings disability to the forefront of consideration, a crucial aspect for advocates.
“Disability is diverse, it can be permanent or temporary, and it isn’t always apparent,” said AFA fund committee Co-Chair Sarah Flickinger. “Normalizing talking about disability, celebrating accomplishments of people with disabilities, and encouraging pride among disabled individuals all support a community where everyone has a sense of belonging.”
The most recent Community Health Assessment for San Luis Obispo County indicates that 25.6 percent of county residents have a disability (published in 2018; using data from UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, AskCHIS, 2014-2016 pooled average, http://ask.chis.ucla.edu). However, national statistics indicate increases since this time.
Ways to support people with disabilities in San Luis Obispo County abound, from individual organizations and programs, to advocacy and more general educational and engagement opportunities.
SLO Access for All offers regular mixer networking opportunities where all are welcome, and hosts monthly meetings for those interested in supporting the fund with time and expertise. AFA also has advocates available to speak to educational, workplace and community organizations. In 2022 the SLO Access for All fund awarded its first community grant, $5,000 toward development of the Garden For All program at City Farm SLO, and plans to continue offering grants to local organizations with ongoing community support.
“For Disability Pride Month we encourage the community to celebrate with us,” said Flickinger. “We’ll be hosting our next mixer – an ADA birthday party – July 18, and we always welcome contributions of any size – even $33 in celebration of the 33rd Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act – as we continue to grow the fund. Contributions allow us to provide support in ways that directly benefit developing a more universally accessible community for all.”
At $33 per donation, it would only take 485 individual contributions to reach the fund’s goal of raising $16,000 in 2023, representing approximately 0.17 percent of the county population (278,348 as of January 1, 2023). Contributions can be made to the SLO Access for All Fund here. To learn more, please visit SLOAccessForAll.org or contact The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County.
SLO Access for All is a field of interest fund at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, working and advocating for an accessible, diverse and welcoming community that values disability as diversity and encourages the full participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of SLO County life. This year The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is celebrating 25 years of making a difference through philanthropy leadership.