Today marks the first day of Black History Month. All month long, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region (The Arc) is recognizing the vital role that African Americans play in the fight for disability rights.
As of 2019, over 5.7 million African Americans in the United States have a disability. For context, that’s one in every four people.
It is essential to have conversations about the realities and challenges that impact the lives of African Americans with disabilities. Throughout history, many disability advocates and protestors were Black people—including many members of the Black Panther Party who provided food and drinks to Section 504 disability protestors in the 70s. And in 1990, The National Black Disability Coalition (NBDC) was created to address the unique concerns and issues of African Americans with disabilities, especially those living in poverty.
Here are a few statistics about disability in the African American Community:
- African Americans are the most likely minority in the United States to have a disability.
- Only 28.7% of working-age Black Americans with disabilities are employed, compared to 72% of Black workers without disabilities.
- Just 57% of Black students with disabilities graduate from high school compared to 74.6% of Black students without disabilities.
- Black or African American students with disabilities are more likely to be identified with an intellectual disability.
They are celebrities, activists, actors, musicians, historical figures, professors, and more. They came from all walks of life and paved the way for other people with disabilities to do the same.
We must continue to advocate and fight for disability rights so people of color with disabilities can access the same jobs, education, and quality of life. The Arc is committed to creating opportunities and serving diverse communities throughout Maryland.