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Join Gillette Children’s in Celebrating Disability Pride Month

Peyton and her father run towards home plate at Target field

At Gillette Children’s, it’s our mission to help every child reach their potential and achieve the independence and agency to create their own story.

That’s why we celebrate Disability Pride Month.

Why we celebrate in July

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed on July 26, 1990, to prohibit discrimination against people who have disabilities. Following the passing of this historic legislation, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, held the first Disability Pride Day event in July of 1990. Since the ADA’s passage, communities across the country have commemorated its passage by celebrating Disability Pride Month in July.

The ADA was only a starting point, and there remains significant room for progress towards a more equitable and inclusive country for all people living with a disability. People living with a disability remain at an increased risk of experiencing discrimination and inequities.

We advocate for our patients inside and outside the hospital

Gillette Children’s was founded because of the advocacy of a small group of individuals committed to improving the lives of children who have disabilities. 125 years later, we continue to build on this legacy.

We strive every day to create an inclusive, empowering environment for our patients within our hospital walls, but we know that when our patients go back to their communities, they often encounter a world that isn’t fully open and accessible to them. That’s why our advocacy team works every day to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our patients. We do this through advocacy to influence public policy and active community engagement. We work closely with organizations and policymakers on the local, state, national and international levels to advocate for patients with brain, bone and movement conditions.

What Disability Pride Month means to individual Gillette patients and families

Peyton Berkland on a park bench with her brother
Leah Berkland, Minneapolis, MN
“When you have a visible disability, it’s all too often the first and only thing people see,” Leah Berkland says. “Before my daughter Peyton started kindergarten, we advocated for her to be integrated with her peers. She thrives in this environment and we wanted this setting for her—not just for her benefit, but for the benefit of the other children as well. We celebrate Disability Pride Month for the same reason, because we believe that when you bring more people together, regardless of their individual, unique abilities, we all benefit. Many things in life are complicated. Being inclusive and compassionate doesn’t have to be one of them.”

Bentley Erickson being held by his mother in a garden
Kris Erickson, White Bear Township, MN
“We celebrate Disability Pride Month because we are passionate about equity, inclusion and accessibility,” Kris Erickson says. “I spend a great deal of my time advocating for my son Bentley to have his personal needs met. Everyone deserves a place at the table where decisions are made and often people who have disabilities are forgotten. We face the consequences of those decisions on a daily basis. Disability Pride Month is a great opportunity to highlight how we as a society can become more aware and work towards true inclusion.”

Krisa Klare looking at the camera and smiling
Krista Clare Jacobson, Rochester, MN
“Disability pride to me means that regardless of someone’s abilities they could achieve whatever they set their mind to,” Krista Clare Jacobson says. “When I was in high school I was told I would never accomplish anything in high school or career-wise and now I have about 12 to 13 years of customer service experience competitively employed in various retail positions.”

Celebrate Disability Pride Month

At Gillette Children’s, we meet our patients and families where they are, listen and find a path forward. It’s our mission to help our patients accomplish their individual goals and dreams.

Celebrating Disability Pride Month is an important step toward achieving these goals, as one of them is very often just to be seen, heard and recognized. We all have something to contribute to the world and when given the opportunity, we all do better.

Please join us this July in celebrating Disability Pride Month.