Dear Members of the University of Washington Community:
Designated by the U.S. Congress as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, October is also recognized by the state of Washington as Disability History Month. I am sending this message to encourage our entire University of Washington community to join in affirming our commitment to equality of opportunity and access for persons with disabilities and to celebrate the historic contributions of the disability community.
Washington has almost a million residents with disabilities. Yet many Washingtonians are unaware of the significant historic contributions that people with disabilities have made, and are continuing to make, for the benefit of our community, our state, our nation, and our world. These significant historic contributions by people with disabilities include those of late UW Law Professor Paul Steven Miller, who served as the former Commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under President Bill Clinton, special adviser to President Barack Obama, and Director of the University’s nationally recognized Disability Studies program. Despite great contributions, people with disabilities continue to face societal challenges, including discrimination and marginalization.
At the University of Washington, diversity is integral to excellence. We value and honor the diverse experiences and perspectives of all members of our community. We strive to create welcoming and respectful learning environments, and to promote access, opportunity, and justice for all, including persons with disabilities.
Disability History Month in the state of Washington is intended to increase awareness and understanding of the contributions people with disabilities have made to our society, increase respect and promote inclusion of people with disabilities, and inspire students with disabilities to feel a greater sense of pride. Please join me in recognizing and celebrating Disability History Month at the University of Washington this October.
Michael K. Young