Reframe Disability campaign aims to reclaim the word ‘disabled’

Haley Candelario

The CSU Ability Club and the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society promoted their Reframe Disability campaign on the Lory Student Center Plaza Wednesday.

The campaign is part of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

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The organizations passed out pamphlets about the campaign and t-shirts with the slogan “Disabled is not a dirty word – Reframe Disability” across the front.

Joe Tiner, president of the CSU Ability Club, said the campaign aims to start conversations about disability rights.

“We’re hoping just to show that there’s nothing wrong with saying the word ‘disabled,'” Tiner said. “It’s a term that has a lot of stigma around it. People don’t want to use it. They want to find other terms to (describe their disabilities). We’re trying to say there’s nothing wrong with this (word). It can empower you. You can hold it as an identity.”

Tiner said the idea for the Reframe Disability campaign came from the discussion of disability rights in the 1970s.

“Last year, the former president of the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society and I wanted to … start the conversation on, ‘How do we reframe disability? How do we make it an identity? How do we talk about it as a positive thing, not a negative thing?’” Tiner said.

Tiner said the Reframe Disability campaign aims to challenge people to rethink the way they perceive disability, and to see disability as positive instead of negative.

“It’s just seen as another part of the human condition, part of diversity, part of who we are,” Tiner said.

Tiner said the CSU Ability Club tries to campaign for different disability issues each year on campus. Last year, the club’s campaign slogan was “This is what disability looks like,” which Tiner said aimed to start discussions about the various forms disability can take.

“This year we’re going with the idea of ‘disabled’ is not a dirty word, saying that it’s okay to say you’re disabled, you have a disability, it’s not bad,” Tiner said. “Having a disability myself, I find a lot of pride in saying I’m disabled.”

Drew Menasco, president of the Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society, said his involvement with the campaign aims to reclaim the word “disability.”

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“(CSU Ability Club) were doing Reframe Disability to kind of bring back the word ‘disability,’” Menasco said. “Disability is in a lot more places than you imagine, like ADD to being a quadriplegic, PTSD. There’s a whole realm of disabilities, visible disabilities, physical disabilities. It’s a lot more common than you think.”

The Reframe Disability campaign currently does not have any future events planned for the rest of the month, but the club leaders are hoping to host more events in the future to raise awareness about disability.

“I know next semester we’re going to try to get into a couple classrooms and talk with students and let them ask questions,” Menasco said. “People just don’t really know what to ask, (but) any question is really a good question. I don’t really worry about people being rude because a lot of people don’t really know how to approach the situation. Just ask.”

Collegian Reporter Haley Candelario can reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.