Accessibility and Disability Equity Library
People with disabilities belong everywhere and deserve equitable access to employment, education, housing, healthcare, and recreation. They have made immense contributions to all aspects of life and culture in the United States, despite being historically excluded from many of the fields they impact. Today, 26% of adults in the U.S. (61 million people) live with a disability. The disabled community has made great strides in advancing accessibility and equity, but disabled people still disproportionately face negative health and mental health outcomes. Long histories of misunderstanding, abuse, lack of care, stigmatization, discrimination, and unequal rights have created deep inequities for people with disabilities. Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty, experience trauma, face barriers to care, and struggle with suicidal ideation than their able-bodied peers.
Disabled people who are living in poverty, located in rural communities, LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous, and/or of color are most impacted, with risk factors including:
Higher prevalence of disabilities in communities of color (35% of Black people aged 44-65 and half of Black people over 65 have a documented disability) and in the LGBTQ+ community (more than one third of LGBTQ+ adults and 39% of transgender people identify as having a disability)
Worse health outcomes for disabled people of color: 55.2% of Hispanic and 46.6% of African American individuals with disabilities report fair or poor health, compared with 36.9 percent of white disabled individuals
Lower socioeconomic statuses for disabled people of color and LGBTQ+ people
Fewer education and employment opportunities for disabled people of color and LGBTQ+ people, as well as greater difficulty securing appropriate accommodations and higher risks of discrimination in school and work settings
Law enforcement-related violence and deaths of disabled people of color, especially Black disabled people
Significant gaps in services, accessibility options, and accommodations for disabled people living in rural areas, many tribal communities, and locations with high rates of poverty
A New Focus on Community Commons
Health Equity Libraries on Community Commons build capacity for changemakers to advance equity for a specific priority population by sharing relevant resources. Priority populations are exploration avenues on Community Commons that represent diverse groups, communities, demographics, identities, statuses, and people with lived experiences. They connect users directly with populations of interest, lift up important underserved groups, and help root our work in equity and justice.
Importantly, we acknowledge that people are not defined solely by the population groups to which they belong—many factors contribute to what makes people who they are, and most people belong to more than one priority population group. These libraries are designed to break down silos and support changemakers working to advance equitable well-being by making people-centered content more discoverable on Community Commons.
Resources curated for Health Equity Libraries:
Share practical, actionable strategies to guide on-the-ground work
Provide access to data and scientific articles that build the case for equity and its relation to well-being
Lift up stories and lived experience from people in priority populations
The Accessibility and Disability Equity Library highlights 300+ newly-curated resources and stories to advance equitable health outcomes for people with disabilities.
As we have worked to expand and center disability and accessibility content on Community Commons, some key themes have emerged:
Accessibility as central to equity, belonging, and well-being
Shifting dialogue from disabilities as limitations to disabilities as complex, highly personal experiences often tied to identity and disability culture
Sourcing and leveraging accurate data on disabilities and disabled people
Centering intersectional perspectives, especially LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices
Disproportionate impacts of disabled people with multiple marginalizations, including histories of trauma
COVID-19 as a magnifier, emphasizing existing strengths and disparities
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