National Disability Awareness Month

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Tuesday, September 08th, 2015
October - National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Celebrating 70 Years! 1945-2015
"My Disability is One Part of Who I Am."
Paul A. Strachan devoted much of his life to fighting discrimination against people with disabilities; a decision he said was based on his experience of  being “…cast upon the human scrap pile, despite a fierce and intense desire to live, to work, and to achieve"  because of a disability. 
Born in Perry, Michigan, on February 26, 1892.  Strachan reported being barred from military service in World War I because of a disability; his experience of discrimination motivated Strachan to work  on passage of the Federal Vocational Training Act of 1920 (known as the Smith-Fess Act) to provide job training so disabled workers could return to work. 
Strachan broke his spine and became deaf after an automobile accident in 1940 leading him to propose a cross disability for coalition to advocate for disability rights.  After existing disability organizations rejected his idea he founded, the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped (AFPH) which brought together people with sensory, mobility, and physical disabilities. The AFPH focused on ending employment discrimination calling for improved vocational rehabilitation services, a quota in the hiring of people with disabilities, to have the first week of October declared “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”, and for the formation of the President's Committee on National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week to coordinate national observances of the week.
Strachan died on September 17, 1972; his activism pushed the federal government to be more responsive to Americans with disabilities, an expansion of rehabilitation services and a nationwide campaign to encourage employers to hire people with disabilities.
What can you do to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month? 
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Adapted from:
Jennings, Audra. "Strachan, Paul A." In Burch, Susan, ed. Encyclopedia of American Disability History. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc.  (accessed September 7, 2015).
September 8, 2015 - 10:32am -- lechman.1

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