Author: Tony Trott
In my local paper, the Washington Post, there was an article recently (7-24) about diversity and the difficulty of achieving and maintaining it. The article mentioned racial, gender, and sexual orientation when promoting diversity. While I have no issues with the importance of those three aspects of diversity, I was kind of at a loss as to why disability was not one of them.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in April 2022 26% of the American population (about 1 out of every 4 citizens) had a disability. Going by that number alone, disability needs to be included in any discussion of diversity. So why is disability so often left out? I think that it has something to do with the fact that even discussing disability makes some people uncomfortable. So, it’s easier to just leave it out of the conversation entirely.
What kind of effect, though, would that have on people, especially younger people, with disabilities? When you were young didn’t you realize when people who were similar to you were on the news or in the newspaper and doing things that would affect you? I think we all did, to some degree.
Now the article I read this morning was about the diversity of those lawyers arguing cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. There are, likely, some people who are thinking, “Give me a break. There are no lawyers with disabilities!” To those people, I would say, “Meet my wife who got her law degree from Georgetown Law Center AFTER she became a quadriplegic at age 16!” And it’s not like she is the only lawyer with a disability in the country. They may be few and far between, but they do exist. My wife has a shirt that says, “If you’re doing diversity without disability…you’re doing it wrong.” Very, very true.