Greek organizations setting up for "Disable the Label" week. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.
The students in the greek bowl playing games with Campus Recreation and enjoying live music. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.
Students enjoying their time at the diversity fest. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.
Students and Campus Recreation having a fun basketball game against the Triangle Thunder and Charlottesville Cardinals. Photo by Tia Mitchell/A&E editor.
Charlottesville Cardinals shooting to score in the game. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.
Student Nadia Martin performing at the poetry night. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.
Student Christopher Yuille performing at the poetry night. Photo by Tia Mitchell/Echo A&E editor.

‘Disable the Label’ — a week for celebrating and supporting everyone’s talents and abilities

October 16, 2015

Tossing footballs into trash bins in the Greek Bowl on a sunny day. Playing in a energetic wheelchair basketball game. Playing trivia games to learn more about disabilities. This is what students, faculty and staff did to celebrate N.C. Central University’s seventh annual disability awareness week, “Disable the Label,”  hosted by Division of Student Affairs and Office of Student Disabilities from Oct. 3 through Oct. 9.

NCCU Office of Student Disability Service serves more than 300 students with disabilities. The biggest disability category is medical conditions. Their second biggest category is emotional and psychological issues.

“People may not realize that on our campus we have more persons who have chronic medical disabilities and psychological disabilities than physical disabilities,” said Birshari Cox, assistant director of Student Disabilities Services. “People probably assume or think about a person who may have a physical impairment, a visual impairment, or hearing impairment but those are actually the lowest numbers of students that we serve.”

The week was filled with events such as a diversity fest, a wheelchair basketball game, a poetry night and a shadowing program that helped individuals witness the obstacles disabled individuals face. Each event featured interactive games, facts and trivia questions, adaptive sports and live entertainment.

“The goal is to create an environment of support and encouragement for persons with disabilities,” said Cox. “Sometimes persons who have disabilities don’t want to feel stigmatized or singled out. It’s all about promoting that we can all celebrate each other’s differences and just treat each other like everyone else would want to be treated.”

On a Tuesday evening, students, faculty and staff gathered at the L.T. Walker Complex to watch a wheelchair basketball game featuring the Triangle Thunder and the Charlottesville Cardinals. Student Affairs hosted the event. During the game, students were encouraged to test their knowledge about disabilities by playing trivia games.

The teams battled it out for two hours, shooting two-pointers and three-pointers left and right. Charlottesville prevailed in a tight match 48-41.

After the game the students in the Physical Education Recreational Majors Association and staff from the Department of Campus Recreation strapped themselves in wheelchairs to challenge the Cardinals and the Thunder. Everyone had a laugh as the rookies struggled to shoot and maneuver their wheelchairs.

The positive energy continued into poetry night and the diversity fest. Poets and singers alike expressed themselves on stage and each performance ended with countless snaps to loud claps and cheers.

The diversity fest had a great turnout. More than 100 students learned about disabilities and competed for prizes while enjoying and celebrating the diversity of NCCU.

The week closed out with the shadowing program and the Eagle advocate luncheon. Students and faculty were able to get to know students with disabilities personally and enjoy each other’s company.

Cox said she hopes participants in “Disable the Label” week walk away with some knowledge and understanding about disabilities and carrying away a message of acceptance and understanding.

“I hope that people accept students with disabilities for who they are and what they are capable of doing,” said Cox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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