ADA Anniversary Gives Local Agencies Cause For Celebration

Jul 22, 2013

 

ARISE and other local agencies gathered at City Hall Commons today to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ARISE and other local agencies gathered at City Hall Commons today to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

A Celebration of the 23rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act proved that Syracuse residents have many “abilities.”


The road has not always been an easy one, as many described, but determination has helped them achieve their goals and dreams.  Agnes McCray was the keynote speaker.  She flashed back on her own life before the Act.

Agnes McCray is one of the many disabled persons who has overcome obstacles through determination.
Agnes McCray is one of the many disabled persons who has overcome obstacles through determination.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“My brothers and sisters would carry me down the hill to get on the school bus.  Now, we can actually get on the bus with our families, friends and be a part of the community.”


 


However, in many ways, the youth of today are still dealing with challenges to fit in.  O-C-C Student of American Sign Language Christie Adkins is deaf. She says friends haven’t always accepted her. Further, coaches thought she and others with disabilities couldn’t play sports.  She loves proving them wrong...playing basketball and excelling in school.


 

Christie Adkins is a Student of American Sign Language and Human Services Studies at OCC.
Christie Adkins is a Student of American Sign Language and Human Services Studies at OCC.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“I just finished my first year of college with a 3.4 GPA.  I’m still standing here fighting every struggle that comes at me.  And I’m still proud to say, I’m proud to be deaf.  If I can do it… you can too!”


One of the people who helped write the A-D-A is Michael Kennedy of Syracuse.  He spent 15 years of his life living in institutions.


 

Michael Kennedy received the Self-Advocate of 2013 Award for his involvement with the ADA.
Michael Kennedy received the Self-Advocate of 2013 Award for his involvement with the ADA.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“I want to honor this award not only to me, but also to the agencies who got me to where I am.”


 


Kennedy received an award from the A-D-A Celebration Committee as the self-advocate of 2013…Shirley Rowser was awarded as the 2013 Coordinator of the year.  Arise, Enable, Arc of Onondaga, Aurora and other organizations joined the city and county in the celebration.