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Disability Rights Movement « Disabilities – Other Issues



Information and Resources about the Disability Rights Movement

The disability rights movement aims to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and to confront the disadvantages and discrimination that they face.

“We, the one's who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as a handicap, but as a well intact human being.” ≈ Robert M. Hensel

General Information & Resources:

  • A Brief History of Disability Rights Legislation in the United States (Universal Design Education Online)
    It is difficult to understand the significance of the term universal design without first examining how people who are physically different have been treated socially, legally, and politically in the United States over the course of this century. While designers may not view this history as having bearing on their creativity or being of their making, their work has been instrumental in perpetuating the norms that exclude some people from using buildings, landscapes, and products.
  • Disability 101: The Disability Rights Movement (Summit Daily News – 8/2/10)
    July 26 was the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), our most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. Celebrations were held throughout the U.S. marking this anniversary. Many of these events celebrated the history of the disability rights movement, which led to the ADA. I have been totally enthralled studying this history. So I'm going to share with you the stories that captured my heart.
  • Disability Rights Movement (
    Comprises a number of related but distinct social movements advocating civil rights for an estimated 53 million U.S. citizens (as of 1997) with physical, sensory, psychological, or cognitive disabilities that affect their daily activities.
  • Introduction to the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement (Berkeley U)
    The disability rights movement asserts that people with disabilities are human beings with inalienable rights and that these rights can only be secured through collective political action. It arises out of the realization that, as historian Paul Longmore has written, "whatever the social setting and whatever the disability, people with disabilities share a common experience of social oppression."
  • Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Guidance for Human Rights Monitors (United Nations Human Rights – 2010)
    Women, men and children with disabilities are too often amongst the most marginalized in all societies and face unique challenges in the enjoyment of their human rights. The adoption and entry into foce of the Convention challenge such attitudes and mark a profound shift in existing approaches towards disability.
  • Oral Histories of "Self Advocates" with Developmental Disabilities Added to UC Berkeley Library
    (UC Berkeley News – 5/21/10)
    The disability history program in the Bancroft Library's Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) has added a new collection of oral histories of leaders in the self-advocacy movement, led by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The collection documents the life stories of 13 self-advocacy leaders across the United States.
  • Support House Resolution 3101 – Senate Resolution 3304 (6/15/10)
    Also known as The Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, just went through committee hearings, nearly a year after being introduced. Referral to committee is the second step that happens after a bill gets introduced; in this case, H.R. 3101 has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the House and S 3304 is in the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in the Senate. The committees will report on the outcome of their hearings and if that report is favourable, it will be brought to the floor for a vote. If both houses approve, the bill passes and the President can sign it into law.
  • The Disability Rights Movement (American History exhibit)
    The ongoing struggle by people with disabilities to gain full citizenship is an important part of our American heritage. The disability rights movement shares many similarities with other 20th-century civil rights struggles by those who have been denied equality, independence, autonomy, and full access to society. This exhibition looks at the efforts – far from over – of people with disabilities, and their families and friends, to secure the civil rights guaranteed to all Americans.
  • The Disability Rights Movement – The ADA Today
    If you're over 30, you probably remember a time in the not-too-distant past when a curb cut was unusual, there were no beeping sounds at crosswalks on busy streets, no Braille at ATM machines, few if any ramps anywhere, and automatic doors were common only in grocery stores.
  • The New Civil Rights (Disability Culture)
    The Americans with Disabilities Act has unlocked the door; now it's time to open it.
  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
    Promoting, protecting, and ensuring human rights for ALL people with disabilities
    Entered into force in 2008, the UN Convention of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) is a treaty designed to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities as well as promote universal recognition and respect for their inherent dignity.  The CPRD serves as a progressive human rights and policy instrument across all disabilities and marks a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities while not specifically defining “disability.”
  • Thoughts on "Policitcs of the Disability Rights Movement (Gathering Forces – 2/13/10)
    This will hopefully be the first of a two-part discussion on disability, the next to follow in several months, and to focus on mental ill-health/”psychological disability”, race, and class. This is meant to be a broad overview of themes, ideas, and movements, through comments on Ravi Malhotra’s article, “The Politics of the Disability Rights Movement.”
  • Understanding the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: A Handbook on the Human Rights of Persons With Disabilities
    This manual is a tool for explaining the content and overview of the CRPD.

Articles About Disability Rights

  • Disability rights still lagging 10 years after convention: UN human rights expert (12/14/16)
    Ten years after onvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities overall progress has been deemed by human rights expert as "only peripheral" and he indicates that urgent action is needed to deliver full rights to the global population of almost one billion adults and at least 93 million children with disabilities in the world.

  • Why Do We Have Parallel Worlds? (Disability is Natural) 
    We do we have parallel worlds?  Why are there separate rules for people who have been labeled with disabilities, and why do so many people with disabilities and family members follow those rules, even when they don't seem to make much sense?