Celebrating Black History Month

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Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and PRIDE celebrates the achievements of African Americans and their important role in disability inclusion in society, including the workplace.

Here are some of their stories:

Haben Girma: 

“I realized after months of not getting access that if I didn’t do anything, other students with disabilities would face a similar barrier.”

Girma was the first deaf-blind person to graduate from Harvard Law School in 2013. An advocate for equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities, she has received widespread recognition for her activism. View her TED Talk, Public Service Lawyers as Pioneering Advocates, here.

Martin Luther King Jr.:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

The prominent activist became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the Civil Rights Movement. King won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. All while creating this enormous change, King dealt with depression and anxiety. His dedication to equality also helped build the disability rights movement.

Bessie Blount Griffin:

“If you can do it, do it…If you can achieve it, achieve it.”

A writer, physical therapist, inventor, and forensic scientist, Blout helped make great strides in assistive technology. She created an electric self-feeding apparatus to help amputees feed themselves without assistance after observing many WWII veterans struggling with the task. Blout later became a handwriting analyst and forensic expert.

Simone Biles:

Having ADHD and taking medicine for it is nothing to be ashamed of nothing that I’m afraid to let people know.”

Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with 19 Olympic and World Championship medals. After controversy arose about her use of Ritalin at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Biles opened up about having ADHD and criticized the stigma around the disability.

Harriet Tubman:

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.”

An American abolitionist and political activist born into slavery; Tubman developed severe Temporal Lobe Epilepsy after receiving a blow to the head from an overseer. She later escaped and made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people and fought for the Union in the Civil War. After the war ended, Tubman became an activist for women’s suffrage.