Spreading Awareness and Fostering Inclusion: M-A’s New Disability Awareness Club

1 min read

Illustrated by Kathryn Rammell

Many new clubs are preparing for their Club Rush debut on September 20th, and the newly created Disability Awareness Club (DAC) is no exception. The DAC aims to foster a culture of acceptance on campus by creating a safe space to discuss methods for increasing disability awareness. 

Sophomore Lucy Lunt, who has spinal muscular atrophy, started the Disability Awareness Club last year. Lunt wants to collaborate with Independent Living Skills (ILS) classes and coordinate volunteer opportunities for club members to service people living with disabilities. 

“There is some discussion around disability awareness, but it doesn’t get all the attention that it deserves,” Lunt said. “People assume I am less intelligent and less capable, which sucks.” 

Sophomore Indra Gerad, who has cerebral palsy, is a member of the DAC and has experienced microaggressions from classmates who target his disability. “I want to equip others with the mental resources  to deal with classmates’ jokes and make sure they know how to seek help,” he said.

Gerard is a passionate filmmaker who likes to go to the gym and hang out with friends. He takes pride in M-A’s motto of “Strength in Diversity” and his beliefs in creating inclusion on campus.

“Some people believe that if you’re disabled, you are unable to think and do stuff, but I’m here to tell you that that is not the case. Everyone has challenges, but that does not minimize the worth of our ideas or the impact we have on society,” Gerard said. 

In recent years, M-A has tried to create and increase a sense of belonging on campus for other minority groups—but many individuals feel that the disability community is often forgotten. 

Independent Living Skills (ILS) teacher Susan Price, who grew up with a brother who has a disability said, “People look at my students as being something less than human beings and treat them that way. Some of the yard supervisors talk to my students like they are absolute idiots, and they aren’t. People need to realize that you should talk to these kids the way you would talk to any other kid on this campus.” 

M-A currently offers ILS programs that are designed to support students with more intensive special needs. The classes educate on academic life skills, and caters to students with varying disabilities. Despite ILS programs modifying classes such as P.E. to be more adaptable for their students, many individuals on campus continue to think about M-A’s inability to shed light on this specific minority group. 

The DAC aims to finally disclose misconceptions and shed light on stereotypes about people living with physical and mental impairments. If you are interested in strengthening disability awareness on campus, the DAC holds meetings every other Thursday at D-6.

Akemi is a sophomore in her first year of journalism. Her stories can range from restaurant reviews to covering events, opinions, and opportunities surrounding M-A's community. Akemi is on M-A's debate team and loves to read and catch up on current events.

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