From left to right: Dr. Charles Osiris, DAPi Advisor; Fiona Pearson, senior, nursing; Bridget Janzen, senior, health science; Mariana Garcia, senior; Christell Martinez, junior, biology ; Nickon Razi, alumni advisor (in front); Jaqueline Ramos, junior, psychology (on projector)
By Bridget Janzen
Editor’s note: This piece was written by Bridget Janzen, President of Delta Alpha Pi honor society’s Eta Zeta chapter at CI.
Thirty-two years ago, the bipartisan passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) empowered the commitment individuals have to build a better nation for us all. The ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability, making disability a civil rights issue.
Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights. In 1992, the United Nations (U.N.) proclaimed Dec. 3 the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Every year, on Dec. 3, we unify worldwide to spread awareness and understanding of disability-related issues. It is also a time to recognize the extraordinary achievements and contributions of persons with disabilities across the globe. The Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the U.N. adopted in 2006, has continued the work toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable world.
Delta Alpha Pi, or DAPi, an international academic honor society, was founded to recognize high-achieving students with disabilities who are attending colleges and universities as undergraduate or graduate students. Because of the negative stereotypes associated with disabilities, students have been reluctant to identify themselves publicly. DAPi’s purpose is to change that perception by recognizing students with disabilities for their academic accomplishments. CI’s DAPi chapter is Eta Zeta, and we have a commitment to create a sense of belonging and inclusion. It is our mission to change the culture from focusing on a diagnosis to better support and understand the needs of our community.
As of 2021, around one billion people live with a disability, which is 15% of the world’s total population. In the United States, that number is about 54 million Americans, which is one in every four U.S. adults. Each individual that is a part of our community has their own struggles, but we are no lesser than anyone else. Treating us differently because we receive accommodations, because we are different, is not permissible. While there have been strides toward equality, those with disabilities, mental and physical, still struggle to be accepted by their teachers, peers and families. We acknowledge the strides taken toward equality, but it is time for people to be motivated to be better and to learn that those of us with disabilities should not be treated differently.
Delta Alpha Pi has a specific meaning through its Greek roots. Delta, or D, is for disability, but also the triangle is a symbol of strength. Alpha, or A, stands for achievement and for advocacy. Pi, or P, stands for pride. Ours colors are blue and gold. Blue stands for perseverance and justice, while gold stands for the pursuit of excellence. The Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society works toward the goal of an aDAPtable world.
For more information about International Day of Persons with Disability, check out this website: https://www.un.org/en/observances/day-of-persons-with-disabilities. Learn more about DAPi here: http://deltaalphapihonorsociety.org/ and DASS at CI here: https://www.csuci.edu/dass/