Bill O'Connor, editors note: Our intern, Lauren Bryant, discusses this important day for people with disabilities and how it affects those searching for employment.
January 20th is known as Martin Luther King Day, celebrating the Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. A lesser known fact is that January 20th is also the International Day of Acceptance, a day for all those with disabilities and their loved ones to celebrate acceptance and understanding.
The International Day of Acceptance (IDoA) was the creation of Annie Hopkins, a woman with cerebral palsy who created a symbol and company based on her creation of the wheelchair heart. This company, 3ELove, sells merchandise with the wheelchair heart symbol, and it serves to “embrace, educate, empower” those with disabilities and anyone who knows someone with a disability.
The company has spread world-wide, with merchandise sold in all 50 states and 28 countries. This is a holiday to be celebrated. It seems fitting that it falls on Martin Luther King Day; both holidays serve for equality and acceptance of all people, regardless of their race or disability.
As a disabled job-seeker, the messages of 3ELove should really hit home. It is important for both you as the disabled person and those who wish to employ you to help you feel empowered and make a difference. Every day I go to AbilityLinks, I feel respected because I am part of a team and a part of AbilityLinks itself. My opinions matter and that in my future working life, I can show production.
Most of all though, it is important to embrace your life, and it is vital to enjoy it just the way it is. No one wants a disability, and your disability is not the only part of who you are. It is, however, a huge part of your life. Being happy with yourself in spite of your disability is a hard lesson to learn, but it is key to embracing your life!