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Diversity in disability

Capt. Jamillah Gonzalez, 960th Cyberspace Wing executive officer, stands for a photograph Nov. 5, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samantha Mathison)

Capt. Jamillah Gonzalez, 960th Cyberspace Wing executive officer, stands for a photograph Nov. 5, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Chapman Training Annex, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Samantha Mathison)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CHAPMAN TRAINING ANNEX, Texas -- As I reflect on last month, I am reminded how no two individuals will ever travel on the same path or share the exact same experiences. In other words, we are all different and even if we are raised in the same household, we each observe and perceive the world in our own unique way.

In October, it was not only National Disability Employment Awareness Month, but also Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  

Each one of these causes and objectives are different, and while some may have a tie to the aforementioned causes, there are those who do not have ties to any. Taking a moment to learn more about these causes offers an opportunity for growth, development and understanding of others.

While a population of individuals with disabilities works among us, I wonder how often we pause, acknowledge and celebrate their unique contributions and perspectives. Encompassing the contributions of others and giving opportunities for employment to individuals with varying abilities can grow an organization and offer perspectives some may have never even known were there.

Organizations have assembled to raise awareness of causes such as disability employment and I’ll provide the purpose outlined from one. The Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute offers the following:

“The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.”

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month dates back to the return of Service members with disabilities from World War II, sparking public interest in the contributions of people with disabilities in the workplace. In 1945, President Harry S. Truman and congress in a joint resolution established the first “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

External Links

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Department of Labor Disability Resources

Office of Personnel Management - Federal Employment of People with Disabilities

Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities