Disability History Week begins Oct. 11

To: UCSC Community

From: Campus Diversity Officers Herbie Lee and Ashish Sahni

The California State Assembly recently passed a resolution declaring the second week of October 2010 as Disability History Week. The University of California will observe Disability History Week this year and every year hereafter.

Since the 1960s, when the national disability rights movement was launched by a handful of brave individuals, our society has been transformed in profound and positive ways. Access and equal rights for the disabled have been codified into law. Landmark legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, has removed physical barriers and helped erode symbolic obstacles, as well.

Over the years, society's awareness of disability has grown to include so-called "invisible disabilities," such as learning disabilities. At UC Santa Cruz, the Disability Resource Center provides free services and support to the nearly 600 registered students with disabilities, while the student-run Disability Alliance is an advocacy organization focused on improving the experiences of all disabled students on campus. Faculty and staff with disability-related needs should contact their supervisor, but can also call Kelly Roberts, disability management coordinator, at 459-4602 for assistance. Requests for disability-related facility improvements, such as curb cuts or power-assist doors, can be directed to Susan Willats at 459-3759.

Despite all the progress, there is more work to do. We remain committed to continuing to improve access at UCSC, and we welcome your input. Please contact us at diversity@ucsc.edu. To learn more about the history of the disability movement, please visit the UC Berkeley Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement website.