Persons with Disabilities

Honoring humanity creates an equitable and just society.

About

The Washington State Office of Equity champions equity and justice for persons with disabilities and celebrates how persons with disabilities have shaped the state’s history and are instrumental to its future success. The make our state truly accessible to all, we advocate for universal access - statewide - to ensure that persons with disabilities have equitable access to the opportunities, power, and resources they need to succeed and are welcomed, supported, and feel a sense of belonging when working in or seeking assistance from state agencies.

We count on the commitment, partnership, and support of people with disabilities  – across the state, inside and outside of state government, - in the important work of dismantling the historic, systemic, power dynamics that oppress persons with disabilities, while building new systems and safeguards that advance representation and ensure that persons with disabilities have access to participation in all aspects of society (such as, government, business, education) until each and every person in the state with a disability flourishes and achieves their full potential.

The disability community’s connections to and intersection with all parts of the civil and human rights community are essential to who we are and lead us to stand together and speak out against injustice and inequality in all its forms.1

Nothing About Us, Without Us

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Diverse group of people seated, talking

The motto “Nothing About Us Without Us” relies on this principle of participation, and it has been used by disability communities and organizations throughout the years as part of the movement to achieve the full participation and equalization of opportunities for, by and with persons with disabilities.2 People with disabilities are representative of all identity groups and overrepresented in populations of those most economically disadvantaged. Improving universal access dismantles the barriers and inequities people with disabilities experience in their daily lives. Progress towards serving and employing people with disabilities requires both the commitment and participation of all persons with disabilities throughout our communities and government institutions. We count on the commitment and support of leaders and management officials from all state agencies, boards, and commissions as well as commitment from the community. The active involvement of persons with disabilities in the ongoing journey can contribute to the development of truly inclusive societies, in which all voices are heard and persons with disabilities can help shape a better world for all.

Disability Justice

Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how people's’ bodies and minds are labelled “deviant,” “unproductive,” “disposable” and/or “invalid.” The term disability justice was coined out of conversations between disabled queer women of color activists in 2005, including Patty Berne of Sins, seeking to challenge radical and progressive movements to more fully address ableism.3 A disability justice framework understands that:4

  • All bodies are unique and essential.
  • All bodies have strengths and needs that must be met.
  • We are powerful, not despite the complexities of our bodies but because of them.
  • All bodies are confined by ability, race, gender, sexuality, class, nation state, religion and more, and we cannot separate them.
We need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability. Stevie Wonder
A Disability Justice framework understands that all bodies are unique and essential, that all bodies have strengths and needs that must be met. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha