History Wednesdays kick off Disability History Month

Mark Stroh
Executive Director

In DRW’s Summer 2008 issue of Envoy, we wrote about an effort of students and self-advocates to convince then Governor Christine Gregoire and the Washington State Legislature to include disability history in all public schools and universities.  Senate Bill 6313, recognizing disability history in the public education system, signed into law on March 26, 2008, mandates schools must conduct educational activities that promote the historical contributions of people with disabilities annually, during the month of October.

To commemorate that achievement DRW’s Galaxy Website launched a new feature on October 2, 2013, “History Wednesdays” to provide our visitors lessons in disability related history.  And we would not mind at all if students, parents and/or teachers found ways to incorporate any of the material in their schools’ effort to implement the law requiring disability history in public schools.

Each Wednesday through December there will be a new post on the history page of Disability Rights Galaxy.  They all will start with a one question quiz serving as a tease to open the article and learn more.  These posts were written by summer Galaxy Interns – Louie Li and Molly Smith of the University of Washington and Will Reckase of Seattle University.  The first post deals with the origin and nature of Nazi Germany’s eugenics movement.

Along the way we will be making a video version of the quiz portion of the History Wednesday posts at least for the month of October.  These will be open captioned and otherwise accessible 1 or 2 minute videos that are self-contained units making them ideal for inserting a 5 minute disability history lesson into any part of the school day.  They are designed for high school age and up.  The videos were produced Galaxy Interns by Madi Dagman and Tina Pinedo, both of Seattle University and narrated by Adanna Abakporo, an intern from the University of Washington.

If a teacher would like to work a discussion of disability related current events into the school day, we have materials for that as well.  They include several Galaxy eNewscasts and a written curriculum complete with lesson plans and questions for use in following up the eNewscast. The full selection of topics can be found on the Teacher Guidance page of DisAbility Rights Galaxy.  Along with Dagman and Pinedo, many of the Galaxy eNewscasts feature Katie Smith, a former Galaxy intern and current KOMO (television station) Problem Solvers intern.

Finally, if a teacher or school is looking for ideas for a younger age our “Portrait of the Whole Person” project is a great model.

We hope you’ll check all of this out.