Disability Allyship Pledge
Disabled Harvard Law School students have created this pledge to outline ways you can be a better ally. 

Questions? Please contact the HLS Disabled Law Students Association (DLSA).
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Check the pledges to be a better disability ally. Read more about any of these pledge below. *
1. Don't self-assess a person's level of disability or the validity of their aids and accommodations
Conditions fluctuate and different situations sometimes require different responses. It's not your place to self-assess "how disabled" somebody is.

  • If a wheelchair user stands up and walks it does not mean that they "don't need" the wheelchair
  • If a person with a learning disorder gets good grades it does not mean that they "don't need" classroom or exam accommodations
2. Listen to and believe your disabled friends and peers
There is no evidence that there is a crisis of abled "imposters" exploiting disability accommodations to "get ahead". 

Believe disabled people when they describe their challenges and experiences, and listen when they detail what accommodations they need. 
3. Don't reduce disability into a reason to feel inspired to overcome your own challenges or to feel grateful.
Disability rights activist Stella Young coined the term “inspiration porn” to refer to these sorts of one-dimensional messages.

This objectifies disabled people for the benefit of abled people, and perpetuates an "us" versus "them" hierarchy. Disability is a daily reality, not an abled person's worst case scenario. 
4. Promote and model inclusion
Especially in your legal work and study, please consider the impact your actions can have for people with disabilities, and always try to keep that impact positive.
  1. Instead of using a person’s disability identity as their defining characteristic (i.e., "my deaf friend Ames"), refer to their disability only when necessary to the conversation (i.e., "my friend Ames").
  2. Respect the gravity of a person's disability. Don't say: "Typo! I'm so dyslexic today" or "Smartphones have made us all ADHD".
  3. Model inclusion and fight stigma by normalizing accessibility accommodations. For example, gently correct somebody complaining about how unfair it is that disabled students use laptops in a no-technology class. 
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