Celebrating Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month
In 2011, the 82nd Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3616, which officially designated October as Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month. HB 3616 encouraged public schools and state agencies to celebrate the accomplishments of people with disabilities, and to take particular care in highlighting the achievements of Texans with disabilities who made significant contributions to the state. October is also a time to reflect on the extraordinary Americans who led the way in the disability rights movement, and the work left to be done to create full civil rights and equal opportunity for all.
Governor Abbott issued a proclamation declaring October to be Persons with Disabilities History and Awareness Month, noting, “Texans with disabilities have played an important role in the history of our great state. Demonstrating the remarkable qualities of the Texas spirit – courage, independence, and ingenuity – they have filled some of our highest offices, fought in historic battles, and contributed to the art and culture of our state.” All Texans are encouraged to take time this month to learn more about the disability rights movement, as well as to reaffirm the local, state, and federal commitment to providing equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.
The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) offers resources to facilitate the recognition of this month, and encourages everyone to utilize these tools whenever possible. While October is Persons with Disabilities History Awareness Month, education and reflection is encouraged year-round. One particular highlight is the Texas and National/International Disability Timeline, which traces significant events in Disability History from 1776 to 2010. GCPD encourages people to submit events to be added to the timeline. Be sure to include “Disability History” in the subject line!
Texas would not be Texas without the work and contributions of people with disabilities. As Governor Abbott stated in his proclamation, “Texas’ finest resource is the people who call it home.”