Guest Blogger: Alyssa Clifton
Alyssa is a student at the University of Central Missouri and also an advocate for social justice.
Let’s celebrate 25 years of the American Disabilities Act being in place! The American Disabilities Act gave those with developmental or physical disabilities the opportunity to live the same life as everyone else. It was not an easy battle for these individuals to fight for their rights. As we have seen throughout history, the battle is hardly ever simple and isn’t over when a law is put into place. People with disabilities still face discrimination, but a documentary shows the individuals who fought the battle to gain these rights to stand up against discrimination and pave the path for others following them.
Lives Worth Living is a documentary that was created to explore the history of how people with disabilities climbed the social justice ladder to gain the same rights as everyone else, refusing to live life differently because of their disability.
photo credit: pbs.org
The most interesting aspect of this film is that there aren’t very many like it. What I mean is that people with disabilities are often forgotten in the world of fighting for equal rights, despite that they are around us. The film depicts the struggles of the individuals who fought this battle as well as how despite celebrating 25 years of the ADA, we are still fighting.
I personally did not know of the battles and movements that started wave for the ADA, so this film was very educational to me. It was also a reminder as to how we can continue to give the same opportunities to those who may seem different than us.
The importance of social justice is that with each generation, we can create new movements and new pieces of history to continue to fight for freedom and equal treatment. The battles we can win, but in truth, the war is never over when it comes to social justice. This film truly demonstrates that, by ending with the battle to put the ADA into place.
Another element of the film that really catches my attention is archived footage that is used. Again, I have never seen the footage, nor have I ever been educated on it. I think the fact that this topic goes under the radar so often really just deomonstrates how much awareness we need to generate to create change. I was always told that knowledge is the best weapon, and it took me 19 years to figure out why, but I did. Educating yourself on these topics is the best way to know how to create change and fight a battle that’s worth fighting.
The fact that the film ends with a battle was a simple remider to me that we must always remember to continue fighting for what we want. Social Justice is a reminder that things are never handed to us and Lives Worth Living is another reminder that the things we do get, we often take for granted.