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.
“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.
“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.
“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.