Monday, July 18, 2011

Meetings -- by Alec Frazier

This week, I went to a lot of meetings.
Alec Frazier is Ready for His Business Week!
On Monday, I went to a Session of the US Access Board. My mentor, Mat McCollough, is a new Public Member of the Board appointed by the President. The US Access Board creates and rules on guidelines for the compliance of the ADA as it pertains to physical disability. When I went they were discussing "Transfer": when someone with physical accommodation i.e. wheelchair, canes, crutches moves to non-disabled placement, i.e. roller coaster, chair, medical table. The committee hearing was born of a study that was originally designed to help mainstream people with physical disabilities at theme parks. It is still preliminary, but so far it is the only in-depth study on the matter.
David Hale introduces Mark Perriello and Joyce Bender as the respective new President & CEO and Board Chair of AAPD
On Tuesday, I attended the opening of the 2011 Annual NCIL conference; more on that later. That evening, the AAPD Summer Interns were presented with two very special people. Mark Perriello is our new President and CEO, and it is really fun speaking with him! He and I had conversed before at an HSC function. Meeting Joyce Bender, AAPD's new Board Chair, was a wonderful experience. I would recommend that everyone join Bender Lead On Team, her effort against the bullying of people with disabilities. As a personal note, I wish that everyone also join It Gets Better, the internationally famous campaign against the bullying of people because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius Gives the Keynote Speech before NCIL

It was great to hear about AAPD's efforts to save Medicaid. I might be dead without Medicaid, so this is personal for me. The Declaration boldly proclaims "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Constitution promises to "provide for the general welfare" and through the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees "equal protection under the law", and this pertains to healthcare as well. And although I don't follow a traditional religion, I know the Bible says, "blessed are the poor" and "blessed are the meek".

Alec Frazier with Congresswoman Kathy Hochul of Western New York’s 26th Congressional District

The NCIL Conference was great! The only problem I have is that the conference focused too much on the organization, that is the National Council on Independent Living, and not enough on the practice of independent living itself. But, we were there to do business, and I tagged along with my state's (New York's) delegation in putting our case to Congressmen, both Senators and Representatives. I even got to meet my University's Representative, Kathy Hochul of New York's 26th!

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