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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Advancing access & equity in 2023.

As written in the 10/2/23 email from Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion Dania Matos, JD & Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Stephen C. Sutton, EdD.

“Observed each October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present and showcases supportive, inclusive employment policies and practices that benefit employers and employees,” (NDEAM). The US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has chosen “Advancing Access and Equity” as the theme for NDEAM 2023.

At Berkeley, we have over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 1,500 employees (staff and faculty) with disabilities. As we honor Disability Employment Awareness Month, it is important acknowledge the history and deep-rooted connection to UC Berkeley as a birthplace of the disability rights movement.

Berkeley History

This year the theme is Advancing Access and Equity and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 is a federal law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability and that was the precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which passed in 1990.

In 1977, Berkeley alum and advocate Judith Heumann, known as “the mother” of the disability rights movement, led a 28-day 504 Sit-In in front of San Francisco’s federal building to fight for the legislation to be implemented. This year’s On the Same Page program for new students was an exploration of the documentary film, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, which features Judith and scenes from the legendary sit-in. Judith passed away in March 2023 at age 75, but her legacy and tireless work for the disabled community lives on at Berkeley and around the world.

Celebratory Events

  • 10/19-10/22 – Superfest Disability Film Festival
  • 10/25 – DisabilityRally: Whenever Wherever, Disability and You (12pm, Sproul Hall)
  • 10/25 (4-6pm) – One-year anniversary celebration at the Disability Cultural Center

To RSVP for these events, and to learn more about NDEAM on our website, click the buttons below.

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