Dave Hingsburger at his blog Rolling Around in My Mind, has advocated making January 23rd a day " to commemorate the lives lived by people with disabilities who were locked away, who ARE locked away from full participation in society. It was also established to remember those, our elders, who have worked tirelessly for inclusion and access, for the word 'all' to actually mean 'all'."
His story as to why he chose this date, posted last year, is also telling:
"I have always, for example, marked January 23rd in my calendar as a day to remember. Let me tell you why. Sandra Jensen was a woman with Down syndrome who was denied a heart transplant because of her disability. It seems that people thought that a perfectly good heart should go to a perfectly good person - and though Sandra lived a life of quality and contribution, she was not considered. In fact, a transplant had never been given to someone with an intellectual disability. They didn't know who they were dealing with.
Sandra was an advocate and she began. She fought against prejudice. She fought against stereotype. She fought against hatred. Her message was one of hope and power. She wanted her life to be valued. She wanted everyone to know that she loved living and the she rejected any notion of 'better off dead'. She stood for all people with disabilities. She stood for all to be valued. She fought and she fought hard. And she won. On January 23rd, 1996, she got her heart."
I am planning on writing a special post for that day. And please spread the word. Because the battle for full acceptance of those with disabilities is far from over.