By Susan Payne
On July 26, a group gathered in Harvey Milk Promenade Park to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the first Disability Pride event held in downtown Long Beach.
Passing the ADA made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications and access to state and local government programs and services, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Rally attendees proudly held signs that read, “Disability Rights are Human Rights,” “Disabled and Proud,” “Brown, Disabled, Proud,” and “Disability is Diverse,” according to an article published by the Signal Tribune.
“What really motivated me to put on the Disability Pride rally is the lack of disability visibility,” said Jennifer Kumiyama, event organizer and Long Beach ADA coordinator. “I think it’s important for people with disabilities to have an opportunity to be seen and to be heard, and to advocate for the things that they need. And I think that it’s only appropriate that we celebrate our beautiful differences in disability on the day that is the anniversary of the ADA.”
In Long Beach, there are over 46,000 working-age people and over 9,000 school-aged children living with disabilities, according to a 2018 report by RespectAbility.
Jake Jakubowski, a Long Beach resident and transgender man who uses a wheelchair, attended the rally hoping to make more connections in his community, the Signal Tribune reported.
“I really appreciate that this is a queer and trans inclusive space because I feel like sometimes that gets left out of the conversation on disability,” Jakubowski told the Signal Tribune. “And so it’s nice to see a multiracial and gender inclusive and sexuality inclusive kind of event here.”