The Disability Visibility Project Wants YOU!
Every story of disability is different, and every one deserves to be heard—loud, clear, and powerful enough to keep the wheels of progress turning for at least another quarter-century.
It’s been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act made history as a milestone for accessibility and civil rights for people with disabilities, and it seems right and proper that someone would come forward to celebrate this impressive anniversary. We’ve made great strides in improving accessibility and awareness for people with disabilities, but we still have along way to go, and any celebration should acknowledge that fact and move the efforts forward.
The Disability Visibility Project is doing it with the help of Americans with disabilities. This grassroots campaign that documents the stories of people with disabilities has been set in motion in a partnership with national history organization Story Corps, a group with a mission to provide a voice to people of all backgrounds and creeds, with all kinds of disabilities, preserving and sharing their powerful stories. Story Corps interviews are played every week on the popular NPR Morning Edition radio show.
The Disability Visibility Project will encourage people with disabilities to archive their struggles, triumphs, and hopes at sites in Atlanta, San Francisco, and Chicago, as well as via mobile recording studios across the nation.
The process is relatively simple: two people who know each other on a close, personal level perform interviews that are guided by a trained facilitator provided by Story Corps. Interview and recording sessions are 40 minutes long, and at the end the participants are given a copy of the interview and asked for permission to archive the recording at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.
Alice Wong, Project Coordinator, says, “The Americans with Disabilities Act was a landmark civil rights law that prohibited discrimination based on disability and provided equal opportunity for millions to participate in society. As we celebrate the 24th anniversary of the ADA tomorrow, we are taking this opportunity to remember and reflect as a community on the tremendous changes we’ve experienced so far. The struggle for disability and human rights continues, and it is important for future generations to have this history to guide them.”
Those wishing to participate in the project are encouraged to visit the Story Corps web site and register by using the online form and mentioning the Disability Visibility Project. This will enable their story to be flagged for inclusion. Not everyone can brag they’ve made a contribution to the revered Library of Congress!
Wong believes that these stories are a vital and important part of American history that should be documented. She says, “We believe all people are historic figures with stories that are worth sharing and preserving.”