LANSING, MICH. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a proclamation designating today as Day of Persons With Disabilities in Michigan to acknowledge the unique challenges that those with disabilities face.
“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic here in Michigan, we must continue working around the clock to protect people with disabilities and compromised immune systems,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today is a time to recommit ourselves to creating a state where persons with disabilities have equal rights and freedom, and to dismantle the barriers Michiganders with disabilities face every day.”
In Michigan, 27% of residents have disabilities, and this percentage increases with age demographics. People with disabilities face hardships with regard to securing employment, health care and education. Governor Whitmer is committed to protecting health care for those with preexisting conditions and creating a state that provides opportunities for everyone.
In 2019, the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council), an advocacy organization housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, launched a multi-year campaign aimed at creating fully inclusive communities, educational environments and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
The initial campaign encouraged employers to hire individuals with I/DD and advocated for individuals with I/DD to be welcomed and engaged as contributing members of their communities by friends, neighbors and family members. This year the DD Council expanded the campaign to include voting rights for individuals with disabilities. Leading up to the election, the campaign focused on individuals with disabilities right to vote, including those with guardians, and provided guidance to have accessible voting.
As the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable due to the virus’s increased rate of severity in those with preexisting conditions. Michiganders must do their part by continuing to wear a mask, maintaining physical distance from others, and washing their hands frequently.