For the sixth year in a row, Madison will celebrate pride aned solidarity with people who have disabilities.
On Saturday, July 28, from noon until 5 pm anyone who’d like to participate in Disability Pridefest will be welcomed at Tenney Park.
Disability Pride began six years ago when a group from Madison went down to Chicago for a parade to celebrate the diversity of people who identify as being physically, mentally or developmentally disabled. It turned into a grassroots campaign to have similar public celebrations in Madison.
“We’re trying to gather a more diverse group of people in terms of race, class and disability,” Kate Moran of Disability Pride Madison told Madison365. “It’s one of the few cross-disability events there is. Disability crosses every ethnic group. So you’re likely to see as diverse a group as you find in Madison. We’ve been trying to center around the experiences of people of color with disabilities. That’s part of our commitment.”
Moran says that there are more people identifying themselves as being people with developmental and physical disabilities, or facing mental health challenges, than ever before. Part of it is a shift in the language people have been using to describe themselves. Neuro Diverse is a term that has been used a lot lately, and especially includes people who are on the Autism Spectrum and have intellectual disabilities.
So having a festival that allows all of those groups to express themselves and celebrate who they are, just the same as any other group, is what Disability Pride Fest will be all about.
“There’s the civil rights part of disabilities,” Moran said. “We had to have the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in order to have jobs and do so many things in this world. The Department of Education is trying to rescind a lot of rights that people with disabilities are receiving. They can’t change the laws but they are changing policies which is basically the same thing. But people support Disability Pride. It’s basically a celebration of people with disabilities and their contribution to society.”
At the July 28 festival there will be stages full of entertainment and free food. A DJ will be coming in from Minneapolis to emcee the entertainment. Moran says that Tani Diakite and The AfroFunkstars, a world music group that performs West African music and has played several venues around Madison over the years, will be performing at the festival as well.
There will be tables set up with services information for people with disabilities, transportation providers and artists.
The Mad City Sisters will run a raffle and the Madison Children’s Museum will be providing a children’s area. There will be free wheelchair accessible pontoon boat rides as well!
Anyone who wants to attend is welcome and can park in the Care Wisconsin parking lot.
“It’s important to tell the story of everyone’s life,” Moran told Madison365. “Not just thin, able, heterosexuals! We wanna celebrate that everyone’s body is not the same. And everyone’s mind is not the same.”