As we look to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, I see how far we have come since the first school where children with disabilities was established in 1817. Our accomplishments have been many, yet we continue to struggle with barriers for equality of persons with disabilities.
Did you know that …
- 10% of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority.
- 20% of the world’s poorest people are disabled.
- Women with disabilities are recognized to be multiply disadvantaged, experiencing exclusion on account of their gender and disability.
- 90% of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school
- 386 million of the world’s working age people are disabled.
- People with physical and mental disabilities continued to be underrepresented in the U.S. workplace.
The following quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. both encourages and inspires me to continue the fight for equality for all people:
“Whatever career you may choose for yourself – doctor, lawyer, teacher – let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life. It will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you the rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man. Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for human rights. You will make a great person of yourself, a great nation of your country and a finer world to live in.”
How do you plan to honor Dr. King’s dream?