“A Threat to Justice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere;” The legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Disability Rights Movement

Crowd of demonstrators at the 1963 march on Washington holding signs demanding voting rights. https://unsplash.com/photos/9RbdjQ3nCEk?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink

The American’s with Disabilities Act paved the way for accessibility, services and supports necessary for people with disabilities to engage fully in our communities. This landmark legislation was the result of years of advocacy, policy work, and legislation, and it was built on the Civil rights movement. Disability rights are civil rights, and the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is at the heart of our continued work of justice, inclusion, access and belonging. Every day people with disabilities are faced with economic, transportation, housing and healthcare challenges because of their membership in a minority group. The work of Dr. King continues every day as individuals, advocates and families work to create systems that support justice, access and equity for people with disabilities. https://www.disabilityempowerment.net/?p=228.

For resources on the history of the disability rights movement check out this article at ADL, https://www.adl.org/education/resources/backgrounders/disability-rights-movement, and this one at the National park service: https://www.nps.gov/articles/disabilityhistoryrightsmovement.htm. The New York Times did a nice write up here as well: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/22/us/ada-disabilities-act-history.html.

To join into the work of building inclusion in your faith community, be sure to check out the articles, resources, and join the conversation at www.faithinclusion.com.

Published in the January 2022 UCICC Newsletter.

Published by Deborah Huggins, MDiv, PhD

I'm blessed to serve as associate pastor of youth and children at Central Presbyterian church in Summit New Jersey where I get to support families as we find connection to God and our community. My doctorate is in Special education, with a focus in faith inclusion.

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