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WHEREAS, according to the 2017 Disability Status Report from Cornell University, almost one million Virginians have a diagnosed disability; and
WHEREAS, people with disabilities have made profound contributions to America throughout history, but are often left out of history texts and are not typically studied by school children; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is committed to lifelong learning and the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion for people of all abilities, races, ethnicities, religions, and genders; and
WHEREAS, educating children and the public about the numerous achievements of people with disabilities and their contributions to American society increases awareness of all of our shared history, values, and societal beliefs; and
WHEREAS, beginning in 2009, in response to advocacy by high school students with disabilities, the Virginia General Assembly resolved that October be set aside as an annual, month-long observance of the history of the disability rights movement, and commemoration of the achievements of those with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, Virginians with disabilities have been successful in reducing barriers they face in employment, healthcare, education, and community living by successfully advocating for changes throughout the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth acknowledges these efforts and will continue to implement the vision statement put forth by the youth who advocated for this monthly designation: to create a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and equal opportunities for all;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 2019 as DISABILITY HISTORY AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.