Social justice, belonging, LGBTQ+, gender, race, ethnicity, equality and many others are words that frequently come to mind immediately. However, disabilities are one area that appear to be overlooked because as some advocates say, “disability” covers such a wide range of conditions many of them may not be apparent to people who may also be co-workers or managers.

Even though we’re now in August, it’s worth noting that July was Disability Pride Month, celebrated in honor of the adoption of the Americans with Disabilities act of 1990, which was the first comprehensive law protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.

In the spirit of Disability Pride Month,  Jenni Bowring and I have put together a list of helpful learnings—both personally and as professionals within the communications industry—as we looked to educate ourselves throughout the month on a reality that affects the lives of 26% of all Americans.  

Accommodating Disabilities In Remote And Hybrid Work (forbes.com)

Forbes contributor, Laurel Farrer touches on four areas to concentrate as we continue to evaluate the hybrid work model and how to best accommodate those with disabilities.

MRS Best Practice Guide on Collecting Sample Data on Physical Disabilities and/or Mental Health Conditions.pdf

Beyond our workplace and within the work itself, specifically within research, how do we equitably collect data to make sure all are represented? When it comes to disabilities, the Market Research Society has released best practices including the PDF linked above inclusive of physical disabilities.

Opinion | ‘Is That Ableist?’ Good Question. – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Dr. M. Leona Godin—performer and educator and the author of “There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness.”—discusses the language of ableism with fellow younger writers and reflects on her own biases having grown up in a world prior to the ADA of 1990.

2022 Disability Equality Index Report – Disability:IN (disabilityin.org)

Disability:IN is the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide, and formed as a result of the realization that without active collaboration with corporate America, people with disabilities would never be able to participate fully, nor meaningfully, in business. This is reflected in the fact that the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities sits at 32.8%; compared to 77.1% for those without disabilities. Their Disability Equality Index Report linked above can be a key tool for those advising on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.

Padilla will continue to look at how we as an agency think about and take action to include disabilities in our conversations, our practices and our work internally and on behalf of clients. Our efforts will only be stronger when we “think as many,” and so we invite you to join us, educate us, share with us and learn with us as we strive to make our DE&I work also include A – Accessibility.

This piece was co-authored by John Gaglio and Jenni Bowring.


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