Where did this week go?!?! This past week was certainly a whirlwind of exciting and inspiring events. On Tuesday night, NCIL and AAPD co-hosted an event called the “Spirit of the ADA…Lead On!” At this event, leaders such as Tony Coelho, Majority Leader Hoyer, Congressman Sensenbrenner, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy Jr. spoke. Later in the evening, a musical group performed whose members all had disabilities. Throughout the night, I had the opportunity to meet both Patrick and Ted Kennedy Jr. along with many other active leaders within our community. The atmosphere in the room was one of excitement and enjoyment. I think that it was a great experience to have all of these people with disabilities come together in one celebratory event to commemorate the ADA’s triumphs, but the fun of the week did not stop there.
On Wednesday afternoon, AAPD hosted their Justice for All Awards event in the Cannon Caucus room. AAPD used this opportunity to recognize those champions that helped to shape and mold the ADA into what it is today. Again, Tony Coelho and both of the Kennedy’s spoke. Our own distinguished leader, Andy Imparato also presented an award. Among the award recipients were Congressman Weicker and author Edwin Black. I was especially interested in learning more about Mr. Black’s book War against the Weak which details the eugenics movement within America. Because of learning about this novel through the event, I actually ended up picking it up from Border’s this past weekend. So far, it is immensely interesting.
After the JFA awards event, some of the congressional and IT interns had the opportunity to join Tony Coelho for dinner at Tortilla Coast. This event was not as formal as the other events, but instead an evening for the interns to once again catch up with each other and ask questions of Mr. Coelho. I learned a lot from listening to him speak about his role in the Gore campaign as well as being the original author of the ADA. I truly appreciate Mr. Coelho for taking time out of his day to meet with us.
On Thursday, there were no AAPD sponsored events that I attended; however, I did attend a committee hearing. The Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing reviewing the twenty years of the ADA. I had an opportunity to attend part of this hearing which had four panels of speakers. The main purpose of the hearing was to honor the 20th anniversary of the ADA as well as review the civil rights legislation to make sure it was working in an appropriate manner. I thought that the Subcommittee did a wonderful job of honoring those people who have devoted their lives to this cause as well as taking into consideration the struggles our communities still face.
Besides all of the events, we all still had to go into our offices everyday. I kept myself busy in the office by attending a couple other hearings on the Defense Budget and Treating Rare and Neglected Pediatric Diseases. With everything going on, I know I was very welcoming of the weekend. I was very happy to get a chance to relax, but I also took advantage of my mentor being in town for a short while. Cheryl and I went out to brunch and shopping on both Saturday and Sunday. It was really nice to spend a bit of time with her and catch up.
Overall, this past week has been exciting and fun, but I certainly welcome everything starting to wind down. More next week!!