December 3rd is recognized as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD). It was declared by the United Nations in 1992 and “aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.”
The CDC defines a disability as “any condition of the body or mind (impairment) that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (activity limitation) and interact with the world around them (participation restrictions).” Disabilities can affect a person’s vision, movement, thinking, remembering, learning, communicating, hearing, mental health and social relationships.
According to the World Health Organization, 16% of the world’s population is living with a disability and the UN estimates that 80% of those individuals live in developing countries. The CDC states that one in four Americans are living with some type of disability.
Persons with disabilities are the world’s largest minority and face many challenges such as higher rates of poverty, poorer health, lower educational achievements, less economic opportunities, and a higher risk of violence. These challenges are caused by a lack of support services, discrimination, negative social attitudes, and limited legislation to protect their rights.
Educating yourself on disability inclusion and the experiences of disabled persons is a great first step to becoming an advocate. The UN provides resources on disability inclusion and the rights of disabled persons, but watching films or reading books about disabled persons can be just as informative. Check out some of these powerful reads from the library below:
IDPWD is a celebration of the value and diversity of the global community of disabled persons. Through education, action and community organization, the goal is to create an inclusive world that is accessible for all.
Alison Robles is a part-time clerk at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for fantasy, history and science fiction. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations.