A while back, under the Taboo Topics section of my blog i invited a group of friends to share some stories they are living with regards to disability. This week i was asked if i could share this post highlighting some of what has been taking place in Americaland with regards to people with disabilities as well as some opportunities in which you can get involved. This guest post comes courtesy of Janessa Dayan, Cause Outreach Associate for Goodshop:

July 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Since the bill was made law in 1990, the ADA represents support and inclusion for all people with disabilities. Equal access to employment, education, transportation, and housing are just a few things the ADA is responsible to give. This civil rights law represents America’s inclusionary spirit and support for individuals with disabilities.

However, social stigma is still placed heavily on the backs of people with disabilities. Disabled individuals are often disregarded and socially avoided as a result of the negative assumptions people connect to them. Instead, we should encourage others to think living with disabilities is neither better nor worse, but rather, just a different way of living. Living with disabilities is not something to look down upon or feel bad for. For some people, having a disability does not affect every aspect of their life, and for others it may be how they identify entirely. Every person is different and living with a disability shouldn’t be the only aspect of a person we see.

As advocates and allies for people with disabilities, it is crucial to empower and respect our friends, regardless of their capabilities. Being respectful and patient to those who are disabled and allowing them to make their own decisions can go a long way to show your support.

The Arc, a non-profit that started as a parent led organization to support their children with disabilities against discrimination, continues to serve people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. With over 300 chapters around the US, The Arc strives to ensure support and resources for people with disabilities accessible to everyone. Some of The Arc’s programs offer information and referral services, residential support, family support, and fun recreational activities catered to people with disabilities.

Advocating for people with disabilities creates another step towards a more equal and inclusive society. To help support The Arc and their mission to ensure an equal way of living for people with disabilities, or other disability advocate non-profits, donate through Goodshop! Select The Arc and Goodshop will donate a percentage of your purchase you make at stores like Nike, Shutterfly, and Blue Nile!