Diversity & Equity Newsletter

July 2021

Disability Independence Day

On July 26, 1990, following years of demonstrations and protests from the Disabled Community, the Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection from employment discrimination as well as better access to goods, services, and communications for people with disabilities. It is often viewed as the civil rights bill for disabled people.

This year marks the 31st anniversary of the signing of the ADA. Many disability organizations are holding events to celebrate the ADA, our accomplishments as a community, and look towards the future and what changes still need to be made for the disability community to have true equity and liberation in our society.

Take some time this month to find disability pride organizations around you, and maybe attend some events celebrating disability and the impact disabled people have on their community!

Residential Boarding Schools, The Aftermath

Recently, hundreds of bodies of Native American children have been found in unmarked graves at various Native American residential schools in Canada. Residential schools were used mainly from the late 1800s until approximately the 1970s. In 1920, under the Indian Act in the United States, it became mandatory for Native American children to attend residential school. This was intended to teach the children how to assimilate to American or Canadian society. It was illegal for Native American children to attend any other school in the US.

During this time, children were removed from their families and forbidden from speaking their native language and practicing their religions and lifestyles. Schools were often crowded, so disease spread easily, which led to some students dying while attending these schools.

Deb Haaland, Cabinet Secretary and first Native American person nominated to serve on the Presidential Cabinet, has announced a new initiative called the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative in the United States. This initiative will look into the records of these schools, and work to identify possible burial grounds and tribal affiliations of the children. The hope is that this initiative will bring some closure to Native American communities and that the wound of missing children can finally be addressed.

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