Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thankful Thursday on Wednesday

Today I am thankful for the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities and their new campaign...

Today, in my state (Virginia), people are making a difference for Virginians with disabilities. Today, is the official launch of the ABLE TO CHOOSE public awareness campaign.

“The ABLE TO CHOOSE campaign invites Virginians to join in making all aspects of community life inclusive and welcoming to people with disabilities,” said Heidi Lawyer, Executive Director of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD).

“The Commonwealth has a promising opportunity to reform its historical focus on large state institutions and fully transition to a true community-based system of support for its citizens with disabilities, said 83% of Virginians in a recent poll funded in part by VBPD as part of the planning for ABLE TO CHOOSE.”

The campaign’s launch will take place at the Virginia General Assembly. Lawmakers, in town for 2 months, were offered coffee at 8am this morning, but they had only one choice – black coffee, no cream, no sugar, and no lattes. This lack of choice was intended as a friendly reminder that everyday options for person with disabilities in Virginia are still limited. The campaign asks legislators and the general public to imagine how they’s feel if they visited a coffee shop or restaurant and were offered few choices. This unimaginable situation, involving something as simple as coffee, represents the reality for many people with disabilities who have limited choiced in more important matters such as where they live and the services that they receive.

Lunch will also be offered to legislators, consisting of a menu with only one choice – item #46 – to represent Virginia’s standing as 46th among all states for community-based services for people with disabilities.

Over the next year, this outreach effort will continue, with Virginians taking part in community events, press coverage, public service announcements, online activity, educational material distribution, and other activities to motivate the community to become more involved in guaranteeing civil rights and equal opportunity.

I’m very excited about this campaign and will share more information about it as the year progresses. In the meantime, please take a moment to view this video:

1 comment:

Sandi said...

This is very exciting, thanks for posting! I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

Sad that Virginia is among the top 10 wealthiest states, but ranks 46th in community-based services.