March is National Disability Awareness Month, a time when we focus on promoting acceptance, inclusion, and accessibility for people with disabilities. This designation has been observed in the United States since 1987 and has since grown into a global initiative with organizations and advocates around the world working to promote inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.
National Disability Awareness Month at John’s Crazy Socks
At John’s Crazy Socks, we look on this month as an opportunity to highlight what people with differing abilities can achieve. In particular, we use the month to promote employment opportunities for people with differing abilities. It is all the more important to us because World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, falls in the middle of the month. Our co-founder, John Cronin, has Down syndrome and is a leading advocate for the rights of people with Down syndrome and all people with differing abilities.
Here are some of the ways that we will celebrate National Disability Awareness Month:
- We will hold a special luncheon for our colleagues, more than half of whom have differing abilities, to celebrate their accomplishments.
- John and Mark will speak at the United Nations on World Down Syndrome Day.
- John and Mark recorded a special podcast episode with Jim McCann, founder of 1-800-Flowers and Smile Farms, for his Celebrations Chatter podcast.
- John and Mark will give the keynote speech at the Homes with Heart Luncheon in Naples, Florida.
- John and Mark will speak at several corporate events offering not only inspiration but encouraging more job creation for people with differing abilities.
- John’s Crazy Socks will participate in the CEO Commission for Disability Employment to advocate for more employment for people with differing abilities.
History of National Disability Awareness Month
The history of National Disability Awareness Month can be traced back to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which was a landmark piece of legislation that prohibited discrimination against individuals with disabilities in federally funded programs and activities. The act led to the establishment of the National Council on Disability, which is responsible for advising the president and Congress on disability policy.
In 1987, the National Council on Disability recognized the need for increased awareness and understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by people with disabilities. As a result, the council recommended the establishment of March as National Disability Awareness Month. The aim of the designation is to encourage people to celebrate the contributions of individuals with disabilities to society and to promote greater inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.
A Presidential Proclamation
Based on the recommendation of the National Council on Disability, President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation designating the month of March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The proclamation called on Americans to "join together to improve the quality of life for all those who live with disabilities" and to "promote awareness of the contributions that Americans with disabilities make to our society."
The presidential proclamation was an important milestone in the disability rights movement and helped to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by people with disabilities. Since then, National Disability Awareness Month has grown to become a global initiative, with organizations and advocates around the world working to promote inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Celebrating National Disability Awareness Month
We have shared how John’s Crazy Socks will celebrate National Disability Awareness Month. Many organizations host events and activities that highlight the achievements and talents of people with disabilities. These events may include art exhibits, talent shows, and workshops on disability-related issues.
For example, in 2021, the New York Public Library hosted a series of virtual events for National Disability Awareness Month, including a panel discussion on disability rights and a workshop on accessible technology. The city of Seattle, Washington also hosted a virtual event that featured speakers and performances by people with disabilities.
In addition to events and activities, National Disability Awareness Month is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the barriers and challenges that people with disabilities continue to face. Disability rights advocates use the designation to advocate for greater access to education, employment, healthcare, and other basic human rights.
Speaking Up for the Rights of People with Disabilities
Many leaders and advocates have spoken about the importance of National Disability Awareness Month and the need for greater inclusion and accessibility. In the words of Tony Coelho, former Congressman and disability rights advocate, "Disability is a natural part of the human experience that influences all of us. It's time to acknowledge that disability is diversity, and that we are stronger together."
Similarly, disability rights advocate Judy Heumann has said, "It's really important to understand that disability is a natural part of the human experience, and we need to create a society that is inclusive and accessible for everyone."
By celebrating the contributions and achievements of people with disabilities, we can help to break down barriers and promote a more equitable and just society for all. As disability rights advocate Justin Dart once said, "We must insist on the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in our society. No one should be left behind."
How will you celebrate National Disability Awareness Month? It is an opportunity for all of us to ask what we can do to promote true inclusion and opportunities for all.
If you would like John and Mark to speak at your event, please contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to Maria Lerner at 631-760-5625. You can learn more about John and Mark’s speaking engagements by clicking here.
About John’s Crazy Socks
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks—what he calls his “crazy socks.” He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company as a social enterprise with a mission of Spreading Happiness™. With more than 4,000 socks, John’s Crazy Socks is now the world’s largest sock store. More than half their employees have a differing ability, and their Giving Back program has raised over $550,000 for charity partners like the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society, and the Autism Society of America. Most of all, they are Spreading Happiness™.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.