Demonstrations, speakers, music and a film will launch the first Disability Pride Day at Millersville University. On Monday, April 16, the University will host the event which is presented by the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, Disability Stigma and Inclusive Education in Philadelphia.
To start the day, attendees including students, disabled people and their supporters will make signs and enjoy breakfast at Stayer Hall before marching down George Street. From there, breakout sessions with disability activists will take place in the Student Memorial Center (SMC). The breakout sessions will cover topics including the history of the disabled people’s movement, the stigma of disability, adapt activist training, sexuality and identity as a disabled person, law enforcement and disability, and more.
For lunch, a protest will be held at The Galley in the SMC to bring attention to ADA compliance. After more breakout sessions, there will be dinner and musical performances outside for attendees to enjoy. Two of the acts scheduled to perform are disability artist and activist Johnny Crescendo and 4 Wheel City, a rap group that has been honored by former President Barack Obama and has performed at the White House.
To finish the day, the new film “Defiant Lives” will be screened. This film features characters who put their lives on the line to create a world where those with impairments are valued and can participate in daily activities no matter their disability.
Alan Holdsworth, a disability rights activist who will be holding a discussion following the film, says that he is looking forward to, “opening up the conversation between disabled and non- disabled students and faculty and the wider community so we can end the stigma of disability and work together for a more just equitable society.”
Dr. Thomas Neuville, a professor and coordinator of Integrated Studies at Millersville says, “Disability Pride Millersville is a day to shine a light on why we are together strong. At the University, we know that knowledge brings us the good things of life. Coming together to learn together breaks down the barriers in our minds and builds the accessible ways forward. The entire central Pennsylvania community is invited and I hope many attend to cause a gigantic celebration.”
Currently, over 150 people have registered to participate and the hope is that this event will spread to other universities as well as high schools across the country. If you are interested in taking part of any of the events throughout the day, you can sign up here.