I have so much to be personally grateful for this July, which is Disability Pride Month. In December, I wrote a blog for Kupenda describing how my experience working for Kupenda and being mentored by Kupenda’s founder, Cynthia Bauer empowered me to more fully embrace my identity as a person with a disability. With what I’ve learned from Kupenda as well as my further exploration of disability advocacy, I started a disability organization at my university, Gordon College.
Called C.A.I.M., which stands for community, accessibility, inclusivity, and motivation, my organization has a dual mission of providing a safe space for all students with disabilities to share their experiences as well as increase awareness at Gordon of disability rights, stigmas, and a method of allyship. My organization works alongside a disability Instagram page I set up for Gordon College, called Disability at Gordon, which is currently celebrating Disability Pride Month. Not only will C.A.I.M. meet each month for discussions as well as outreach events, C.A.I.M. will also host a disability week at Gordon in the spring semester. Through my connection to Cynthia, I was also able to connect with the Gordon alum who hosted a week very similar to C.A.I.M.’s a few years ago. With the alum’s guidance, C.A.I.M. has begun the process of developing our disability week.
My experience with starting the organization and planning this disability week reminds me of Cynthia’s experience in founding Kupenda. Cynthia saw a need for a need for disability advocacy and empowerment in Kenya, and she began the task of responding to this need. Cynthia’s example, as well as countless other disability advocates, have taught me that while I may not be able to tackle ableism and disability stigma in all its forms, I can create a small space of hope and empowerment.
I am beyond grateful to Kupenda and Kupenda’s founder Cynthia, as well as my supervisor at Kupenda, Jessica Charles, for being alongside me through this entire process. In honor of Disability Pride Month, I encourage everyone to look for small places where they can make change for the betterment of all people with disabilities. This might look like learning about how to be an able-bodied ally, learning about the disability rights movement, or finding out about disability issues in your own community.
There are so many ways you can get involved in Disability Pride Month just like Mikayla!
- Cross-post this blog to your social media sites to raise awareness
- Donate or fundraise for Kupenda to help more children with disabilities in need
- Sponsor a child in Kenya for just $30 per month
- Invite Kupenda’s founder to make a presentation about disability justice at your school or workplace
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Advocate for more accessible spaces in your community
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If you’re interested in supporting one of the many children we serve, head over to our sponsorship page to learn about how you can make a difference for just $30 / month.
You can also help children with disabilities stay safe and healthy during COVID-19 by donating here.