It’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month and I have a dream. It’s where individuals with disabilities have an equal seat at the conference table, not above, or below, but equal. Not a seat where chairs are rearranged for a wheelchair to fit, or a seat where co-workers are distracted by wanting to pet the service dog sitting quietly at their master’s feet, or the seat the disabled applicant quickly vacated because the interviewer decided they ‘weren’t a fit’ based solely on their disability.
I dream that disabled get the same treatment, respect, and job opportunities as others; to be promoted for their abilities, intellect, passion, dedication, persistence—and their strength; to break the disability glass ceiling that limits their work potential because their leg, arm, or sometimes their brain isn’t programmed to function the same as others.
I dream that disabled job candidates can stop dancing around inappropriate interview questions asked by a hiring manager who is clueless on what can land them in legal trouble for asking in regards to a disability.
I dream that the world will ban the term handicap and disabled as label for disabilities as it focuses on what can’t be done, rather than what can be done; and instead that we embrace a new form of ableism not found in the dictionary, but ableism defined as people being evaluated solely on the their abilities; the belief that everyone has a skill or contribution for employment.
This National Disability Employment Awareness Month I dream that every employer, business, and working professional will implement a change that results in making all employment opportunities inclusive for those with disabilities—both visible and hidden.
I have a dream….