Methuen Access

Methuen Access

Is Methuen’s diversity plan really inclusive

by Sid Harris
August 13, 2003

The Americans with Disabilities Act’s enforcement on July 26, 1990, has been a milestone in the fight against disability discrimination. It aimed to create a barrier-free American society for individuals with disabilities. Disability Pride, a day of celebration, took birth the same year to commemorate the Act’s announcement. The event helped bring about a positive impact and awareness of the challenges and experiences faced by individuals with disabilities. Later in July 2015, Disability Pride Month was born, a month dedicated to recognizing and respecting the range of skills, ambitions, and talents people with disabilities bring to the table. Flags have played a crucial role in symbolizing support and pride for the disabled community. In 2019 the writer, Ann Magill, who lives with Cerebral Palsy, felt compelled to create Disability Pride Flags as a symbol of self-affirmation, inclusivity, and hope after the 20th-anniversary event for the ADA only took place in the basement of an independent living center.

Why isn’t Methuen celebrating disability pride month?

The city of Methuen’s alarming history of ignoring disabilities and ADA violations is deeply concerning, and it is essential to address accessibility issues. City officials have been passive and silent on the matter and seem to have avoided any honest and open discussions on why the city does not meet the required standards of the ADA. As July is marked as Disability Awareness Month, and Independence Day for the Americans with Disabfalles Act falls on July 26, it is daunting that Methuen has not recognized it with the same enthusiasm as other groups. It raises concerns that despite having a Disabdiversemission, a diverse person, and a Mayor who claims to represent everyone, Methuen lacks any initiative to celebrate it annually. It is essential to acknowledge the presence and contribution of the disabled community towards society and provide them with equal opportunities and recognition.  Why is my community failing in all of this?

Here’s what the disability pride flag represents:

  • Black: The black background, which is more so like a faded charcoal base, ignites the mourning of disabled persons victimized by ableism or lost to disability-fueled violence, abuse/negligence, and death. The dark shade also illuminates the rage and protest against the mistreatment of people with disabilities.
  • Diagonal band: The light, connected band of stripes cut straight through the darkness (i.e., barriers). The slanted formation is a symbolic contrast to the vertical walls and horizontal ceilings that resonate with feelings of isolation among some members of the disability community.
  • Multi-colored: The disability pride flag includes all six standard international flag colors to denote that the disability community is wide-reaching and on a global scale. Regarding the flag’s redesign, Magill explained in a Reddit post that the warm and cool colors were grouped separately on either side of a white stripe to “lessen the chance of a flicker effect when scrolling online, lessen a nausea trigger for those who suffer from migraines and separate the red and green stripes for those with color blindness.”
  • Green: This stripe signifies sensory disabilities, including blindness, deafness, lack of, smell, lack of taste, and other sensory conditions.
  • Blue: This stripe represents those with psychiatric disabilities, such as anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
  • White: This central stripe connects to persons with invisible disabilities and/or undiagnosed conditions.
  • Gold: This stripe signifies those with cognitive and intellectual disabilities and other neurodivergence.
  • Red: This final line denotes persons with physical disabilities.
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