Saturday, July 24, 2010

Was that all one week?

Wow. It's pretty amazing how our community celebrates the signing of the ADA. I've never seen such a diverse group of people come together to rejoice over civil rights. Even though disability can be such a wide (and often divided) social category, what we have in common is that we are clearly appreciative of our rights and proud of the fight to get and preserve them. Monday was full of preparation for the week - we had to gear up for the events that were to come. On Tuesday, I attended a meeting of the Regulatory Education and Action for Patients (REAP) coalition, a new organization forming to ensure that patients are aware and invovled when it comes to health reform implementation. That night was the NCIL/AAPD Spirit of the ADA Event. We had an amazing turnout, and I actually loved taking tickets and handing out goody bags. It gave me (and several other interns) a chance to meet the majority of people attending the event, many of whom are deeply involved in the disability rights movement. The barbecue, music, and speakers all captured the enthusiasm we all have for the ADA pretty well. On Wednesday morning, I headed to the NCIL march and rally with other AAPD interns and staff. It was awesome to see everyone come together and shout about protecting our rights. The coolest part was probably the GIANT puppet of Justin Dart at the end of the parade. Jae, our communications intern, got some great pictures - everyone should check them out on AAPD's Facebook page. That night was the JFA event, which was equally amazing. There was an outstanding turnout. Along with a variety of other great people, I actually had a conversation with I. King Jordan, Gallaudet University's former president appointed as a result of the Deaf President Now protests. I couldn't believe I was talking to someone I had read about and watched movies about last semester. On Friday, we attended another anniversary event at the Department of Justice. Again, an amazing panel of speakers including Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant AG for Civil Rights Tom Perez, former PA Governor and Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, AAPD board chair Tony Coelho, and a panel of others. That afternoon I sat in on a summit at AAPD on public transit, which showed me yet another side of accessibility issues. Still not ADA'd out, this afternoon I attended an event hosted by Yoshiko Dart at which a callbox in SW DC was dedicated Justin Dart. I was struck once again by the love and unity that is uniquely present in the disability community. Now, I'm gearing up for another week of celebration! Stay tuned!

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