Disability Rights By: Ava Bozzo

Disability Rights is a global movement focused on protecting rights for all people with disabilities. These rights are civil rights because people with disabilities aren’t able to live a full life. These people are regular citizens yet they aren’t able to live independently, they are discriminated against, and they aren’t able to participate in many jobs and activities like other citizens. The Disability Rights movement demands, “Federal protection against discrimination in education, jobs, public accommodations, and government-fund activities.” (Longmore, 1). Protection against these things is something that is promised to all citizens, making them civil rights. All citizens should have the right to participate in everyday things without discrimination. Additionally, “People with disabilities are also deprived of their right to live independently, as many are locked up in institutions, shackled, or cycled through the criminal justice system.” (Sharma, 1). This means that some people with disabilities lack the right to live on their own with a paid caretaker. Instead they are forced to be institutionalized or be apart of the criminal justice system. This is a violation of basic rights because every citizen should be able to choose how they live. Because Disability Rights are basic rights that all citizens should have, they are civil rights.

The Disability Rights Movement today and the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s are similar because they use the same forms of protest. Advocates for Disability Rights have held many protests. “Members of the Disability Rights Movements have been involved in boycotts, blocking traffic, protest marches, and sit-ins.” (Barnartt,1). Through these actions, Disability Rights advocates have voiced their opinions and tried to make a difference in the way people with disabilities are treated. In the 1960’s, African Americans that were fighting for their rights used similar forms of protests. These advocates participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Voting Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, and sit-ins at restaurants that wouldn’t serve black people. (Histoy.com videos). By using these tactics, they received the rights that they fought so hard for. From this evidence, it is easy to see that similar protest techniques were used for both movements. Advocates for Disability Rights and advocates for African American Rights both participated in boycotts, marches, and sit-ins. They used these powerful protests to fight for what they believed in. Therefore, the Disability Rights Movement and the Civil Rights Movement are similar because the same protest tactics were used.

Though the two movements are similar, they are also different. The Disability Rights Movement and the Civil Rights movement are different because they focus on rights for different groups. The Disability Rights Movement focuses on rights for disabled people with the Civil Rights Movement focused on rights for African American people. “The disability rights movement fights for the civil rights of an estimated forty three million U.S. citizens with physical. Sensory, psychological, or cognitive disabilities that affect their daily activities.” (encyclopedia.com). This means that the Disability Rights Movement is a fight for equal rights for people with all kinds of disabilities. This is different than the group that the Civil Rights Movement fought for. The Civil Rights Movement, “Was a struggle by African Americans in the mid 1950’s to late 1960’s to achieve civil rights equal to those of whites…” (encyclopedia.com). This means that the Civil Rights Movement was a fight for equal rights for all African American people. From this evidence, it is easy to see that the two movements focus on different groups. The Disability Rights Movements is focused on receiving equal rights for disabled people while the Civil Rights Movement focused on receiving equal rights for all black people. Therefore, the two movements are different because they fought for different groups’ rights.

Disability Rights is a serious issue that many people want to help. To help this movement, citizens can donate to the ADAPT organization and they can help by being respectful. The ADAPT organization is one of the many organizations that help with the Disability Rights Movement. “ADAPT is a national grassroots community that organizes disability rights advocates to engage in nonviolent direct action…” (Adapt.org). This organization finds advocates to fight for equal rights for the disabled. By donating to this organization, citizens will help the movement because more advocates will be found which will make the protests more effective and strong. The other way citizens can help is by being respectful to those with disabilities. It seems like a very small change that won’t do much, but it will go a long way. For people with disabilities, “The most difficult barriers to overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities.” (Office of Disability Employment Policy, 1). This means that disrespectful attitudes and rude behavior are one of the bigger challenges people with disabilities face. Just being respectful and considerate to disabled person can make their life a lot easier and more enjoyable. By donating to the ADAPT organization and by being considerate, one can really help the Disability Rights Movement.

Works Cited

"Attitudinal Barriers for People with Disabilities." NCWD/Youth - National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.ncwd-youth.info/attitudinal-barriers-for-people-with-disabilities>.

Barnart, Sharon. "Action for Access." Action for Access - Changing Perceptions of Disability in American Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://actionforaccess.mohistory.org/protestsactivism.php>.

"Civil Rights Movement." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. Encyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/political-science-and-government/political-parties-and-movements/civil>.

"Disability Rights." Human Rights Watch. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <https://www.hrw.org/topic/disability-rights>.

"Disability Rights Movement." U*X*L Encyclopedia of U.S. History. Encyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/disability-rights-movement>.

History.com Staff. "Montgomery Bus Boycott." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott>.

History.com Staff. "Voting Rights Act." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/voting-rights-act>

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Longmore, Paul. "Disability Rights Movement." Opposingviewpoints.org. N.p., 1998. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Reference&currPage=&scanId=&query=&source=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&mode=view&catId=&u=kenni67327&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3014000008&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=>.

Tnet.com, Webmaster @. "Welcome to ADAPT!" ADAPT: Welcome to ADAPT! N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.adapt.org/>.

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