Disability Pride in New England

Framingham Massachusetts marked the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in a unique way. The Disability Flag, was designed by a Framingham resident. The flag raised for the first time during a ceremony yesterday.

Rob Levine, a Framingham resident , designed the flag. It was commissioned in 2022 by the Framingham Disability Commission to remember the late co-founder of the Framingham Disability Commission. Karen Foran Dempsey, after whom the city’s ballroom in Village Hall is named. Following the service, the Memorial Building will be illuminated in blue, green, and white from Wednesday through August 2.

Many disabled people in New England wish more people knew about disability pride month. Last year, Chrysanthemum Gates had the opportunity to speak at her first in-person disability pride event. Gates who lives in Augusta, ME has Tourette’s Syndrome.

Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a disorder that manifests itself as simple and complex motor tics, vocal tics, and typically obsessive-compulsive behaviors before the age of 21. TS typically has a waxing and waning pattern, but chronification of the tics, even in later life, is common. TS primarily affects males and has a genetic inheritance with varying penetrance.

Tics are described as sudden, quick, recurring, nonrhythmic motor actions or vocalizations that are usually accompanied by an urge. Blinking, eye rolling, head nodding, shoulder shrugging, and abdominal tightness are a few examples.

There are several different types of tics. Oculogyric motions, persistent mouth opening, blepharospasm, and torticollis are examples of dystonic tics. Complex motor tics are more intricate synchronized movements that involve more than one muscle group. Examples include bending, jumping, kicking, spitting, smelling, obscene gestures (copropraxia), and extensive movement routines.

Sniffing, coughing, throat clearing, clicking, humming, animal sounds, or whistling are examples of phonic tics. Complex phonic tics are more involved utterances. They include words, phrases, or profanity (coprolalia), repetition of others’ words (echolalia), or repetition of one’s own words (palilalia).

Kasey Mimitz, is the director of Stavros Center For Independent Living which is located in Amherst, MA. Before Mimitz was hired he had no idea there was a disability pride month. “Where’s the Disability Pride flag?” Mimitz said last year.“If I didn’t work where I work, I wouldn’t even know what it looked like, because I’ve actually never seen one out and about in the community.”

Disabled people don’t need to be kept away from society. Disabled individuals constitute the world’s largest minority. We are in your neighborhoods, schools, places of worship, local businesses, and workplaces. We deserve the same opportunities as anyone else.


Caprino, Kathy. “The World’s Largest Minority Might Surprise You, And How We Can Better Serve Them.” Forbes, 14 Apr. 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2016/04/14/the-worlds-largest-minority-might-surprise-you-and-how-we-can-better-serve-them/?sh=737aa3ca496f.

Müller, Norbert. ‘Tourette’s Syndrome: Clinical Features, Pathophysiology, and Therapeutic Approaches’. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, vol. 9, no. 2, Taylor & Francis, June 2007, pp. 161–171, https://doi.org10.31887/DCNS.2007.9.2/nmueller.

Mittal, Shivam Om. “Tics and Tourette’s syndrome.” Drugs in context vol. 9 2019-12-2. 30 Mar. 2020, doi:10.7573/dic.2019-12-2

Rivera, Melody. “It’s Disability Pride Month, and Many in New England Want More Celebration.” WBUR News, 26 July 2022, http://www.wbur.org/news/2022/07/26/diability-pride-month-awareness-new-england.

Samuels, Montana. “Framingham Raises Disability Flag for the 1st Time Today.” Framingham, MA Patch, 26 July 2023, patch.com/massachusetts/framingham/amp/31470964/framingham-raises-disability-flag-for-the-1st-time-today.

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