College Prep Takes On Disability Rights

February 2024

If you know the teachings of Dr. King, you know he saw civil rights as much broader than race. His work helped pave the way for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed in 1990. Disability rights have also found their way into Literacy Minnesota’s College Prep classroom. Lead ESL Teacher, Jessica Jones explains, “We tackle the hurdles folks with disabilities face every day.”

A demonstration for disability rights. Many of the demonstrators are in a wheelchair.

Along with their shared experiences, participants trace the trajectory of advocacy efforts leading to the passage of the ADA, look at the history of disability rights like the exclusion of individuals with disabilities at Ellis Island and discuss language around disability and how it has changed. The historical record shows a direct line between the efforts of activists with disabilities and the implementation of the ADA and other important equity measures. Despite progress, challenges persist in employment, equitable wages and healthcare access.

For this class, disability rights hit close to home with many personal stories woven into learning tools like videos, first-hand narratives, visuals and group discussions. Educators and advocates interested in more resources can explore our Educator Resources page on Literacy Minnesota’s website. You'll find tools and materials to enhance discussions and inclusive learning. Together, let's keep lifting and learning!