The core philosophy of the Disability Cultural Center is that disability should be respected as a type of human diversity, alongside other forms of diversity such as race, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, and national/migrant status. In keeping with this idea, the Disability Cultural Center’s work would be in alignment with the language of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. § 15001, s. 101 (a)(1)), which states that
Disability is a natural part of the human experience that does not diminish the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to live independently, to exert control and choice over their own lives, and to fully participate in and contribute to their communities through full integration and inclusion in the economic, political, social, cultural, and educational mainstream of United States society.
The Disability Cultural Center will offer a space for celebrating disability pride, power, cultures, and communities. Integral to the mission of a Disability Cultural Center are fostering a culture of inclusion and access for everyone, providing a safer space for people with disabilities and allies, affirming equal rights for people with atypical bodies/minds, and advocating for disability justice both on and off the Hilltop. Among the Disability Cultural Center’s important work would be combating the cultures of shame and stigma around disability, especially less apparent or hidden disabilities (including psychosocial disabilities/mental illness).
Other concepts important to the mission of a Disability Cultural Center are the right to self-determination for all people with disabilities, the inherent human dignity of all people with disabilities, the recognition of social and other systemic structures that create structural barriers to access for people with disabilities, empowerment of disabled people through community engagement and disabled leadership, the validity of many human experiences, and the necessity of connecting disability to other diversity and social justice conversations, initiatives, and programs.