The differences that unite us

Disability Pride and Heritage Month (DPHM) starts on Oct. 1, and Northern Arizona University has planned a series of in-person and virtual events that focus on the importance of inclusivity.

“NAU recognizes diversity, broadly defined as the experience of persons with disabilities. Bringing attention to the ways in which disability represents a group of individuals who have experienced marginalization, and the ways in which NAU has responded to support these individuals, highlights the value-added aspects of the NAU experience,” said Chris Lanterman, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Specialties and co-chair of NAU’s Commission on Disability Access and Design (CDAD).

CDAD is part of NAU’s efforts to create a welcoming and inclusive university experience for all, free from physical and attitudinal barriers through information accessibility, advocacy and trainings.

“Nearly one in five individuals in the U.S. identifies as having a disability. This suggests that it is likely that any one of us will have a disability or have a relative, teacher, student, supervisor, client, patient, close friend or significant other with a disability,” Lanterman said. “We will more than likely need to engage with the construct of disability on a personal level at some point in our life.”

Although DPHM is celebrated during the month of October, it is critical to recognize the experiences of people with disabilities throughout the year in order to ensure the university is an inclusive environment. One of the core goals of DPHM is viewing the disability experience not as one of pity, but as one of power.

“Throughout the year, the university community can take the concepts, strategies and ideals of DPHM and apply them to their school and work contexts,” Lanterman said. “Whether this is applying these in assignments, curriculum, workflows, office space organization or anything else, the university grows toward the welcoming and inclusive space that the CDAD and DPHM strive to achieve.”

The events begin with a virtual accessibility scavenger hunt that tasks community members with finding clues through different variations of accessible website designs. As you complete each task in the virtual environment, you are entered to win prizes along the way.

YouTube celebrities Squirmy and Grubs will be hosting a virtual conversation on Oct. 20 at 5:00 p.m. about the misconception that people with disabilities cannot be valuable partners. The couple will share their relationship experiences and identify the various damaging misconceptions that society has about living with a disability.

The monthlong celebration will tentatively conclude with the 7th annual sitting volleyball tournament. The campus and Flagstaff community can register their team on the Campus Recreation website.

To view a full list of the events planned for DPHM, please visit the CDAD website.

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Carsen Jones | NAU Communications

NAU Communications