On a hot and humid evening on July 10th, Disability Advocates of Kent County held their annual ADA Celebration at Kent District Library’s Kentwood Branch.
We had over 20 community partners who included Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, United Community Health Care, the Rapid, Hope Network, YWCA, YMCA, Alternatives in Motion, Toastmasters, Beyond 26, Kboose, and many others! We were sponsored by Airway Oxygen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Experience GR, and 5/3 Bank. Artists Creating Together, Celebration Cinema, and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. all provided activities for kids and adults alike.
We also had stellar entertainment from ACTion Drummers and Arts in Motion dancers. City Barbeque provided delicious pork and chicken sliders, slaw, and mac-n-cheese.
A good time seemed to be had by all, but I don’t want to forget why we were all there. We were there to celebrate President H. W. Bush signing the American’s with Disabilities Act in 1990. That Act was the beginning of rights for those with disabilities.
In the past 29 years, we have made great strides, however we have a ways to go. There are still issues with accessibility, transportation, truly affordable housing, and employment availability. We are working with self-advocates toward a common goal of true equity and will not stop until it is finally achieved.
Laura St. Louis – Community Organizer III