People with disabilities represent a diverse group with a wide range of needs, and some of these are not easy to see. Disparities abound in this population, from access to health care to education and employment. Many people with disabilities also have underlying health needs that make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Unfortunately, people with disabilities are often left out of the ‘diversity and inclusion’ conversation.
The World Health Organization estimates there are over 1 billion people — about 15% of the global population — who experience some form of disability, and this number is increasing. Almost everyone will be permanently or temporarily impaired at some point in their life.
December 3 is the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities,” a day of observance for people who live with some form of disability, proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992. All people should be valued for their unique talents and abilities. Watch the following videos to learn more about disability.
Disability and Work: Let’s Stop Wasting Talent
Disability is still a barrier to employment for millions of people – but it doesn’t have to be this way. Drawing on her own experience in the medical profession, Hannah Barham-Brown argues that people with disabilities are an asset more employers need to harness. Hannah Barham-Brown is a doctor, disability advocate and member of the British Medical Association Council. In 2018, she was named one of the UK’s 100 most influential disabled people on the Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 List for her work in medicine, politics and the media.
Go Forth and Be Human: Disability Sensitivity Training
This is a disability training video sponsored by the District of Columbia Office of Disability Rights. Visit Odr.dc.gov to learn more.
Things People With Disabilities Wish You Knew
This BuzzFeed video features people with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Tourette syndrome and Lupus, sharing their perspectives on human interactions.
December Holidays: The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
Few months present as many multicultural celebrations as December, including Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza. These expressions of culture and religious traditions are all associated with “light,” a common holiday symbol representing hope for peace and understanding. The Department of Medicine would like to wish a happy holiday to all.
December 10-18 – The Festival of Lights: Chanukah (Hanukkah)
The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting. Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar.
December 25 – Christmas
Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of the baby Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. Over the centuries, the celebration of Christmas has incorporated songs and customs from many regions of the world, including the Christmas tree, originally a pagan symbol from northern Europe.
December 26-January 1 – Kwanza
Kwanzaa is a relatively new holiday, dating back to the 1960s. It is an African American celebration of African culture and roots. Kwanzaa is celebrated for seven days, and each day is dedicated to a different human value. On each day of Kwanzaa, a candle is lit in a kinara, or candleholder, to highlight one of these basic principles. Maulana Karenga described it as a time to “discover and bring forth the best of our culture, both ancient and current, and use it as a foundation to bring into being models of human excellence and possibilities to enrich and expand our lives.”
Links to Triangle observances: