Rolling into society seamlessly
July 27, 2010
“All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop.and#8221;
People living with disabilities have sought to merge seamless into society for a very long time. A celebration was held July 24 at Dodger Stadium, where 193 people used wheelchairs in a seamless, continuous moving line and#8212; a potential Guinness World Record in honor of The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) 20-year birthday, July 25.
I have been merging back into society since my spinal cord injury 35 years ago. In the 1970s, when I began traveling in airplanes, there were no aisle chairs on board. If I wanted to use the toilet while in flight, I got on the floor, dragged my body to the facility and back. Transatlantic flights were a real workout. In-flight aisle chairs are now on all commercial flights. The ADA brought awareness for access, adaptations and actions.
In April, I attended the Abilities Expo, speaking with my friend Sam Maddox, a longtime champion of and#8220;an all access passand#8221; for the disabled and knowledge manager for the Reeve Foundation. Maddox had a vision to celebrate ADA and to set a world record to commemorate this historic legislation. The Reeves Foundation would be the title sponsor. I responded, and#8220;Iand#8217;m in, let me know what I can do.and#8221; And so it was.
The day began early in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, as folks using wheelchairs rolled around saying and#8220;hiand#8221; to old friends and meeting new ones. There were and#8220;able bodiedand#8221; folks who havenand#8217;t joined and#8220;the disability club,and#8221; yet wanted to participate. Wheels for Humanity supplied wheelchairs, with the requirement once the able bodied person sat down they stayed in until the eventand#8217;s end.
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Reeve Foundation ambassador Ali Stroker began our celebration by belting out the National Anthem: small woman, big voice. Gary Karp served as emcee and demonstrated juggling skills. Life Rolls On founder Jesse Billaur encouraged the crowd to continue toward an all-inclusive society. Josh Rawitch, VP of Communications for the L.A. Dodgers gave a tribute to Roy Campanella and one of Royand#8217;s baseball cards, Mark Ridley Thomas, L.A. County Supervisor, Mayra Fornos, founder of Ralphand#8217;s Riders and David Geffen, ADA lawyer inspired us to action. Auti Angel and her Chairlieand#8217;s Angels performed a hip hop dance routine! We were ready to set the world record now!
A Superman dog tag with and#8220;go forwardand#8221; inscribed was given at sign in, we formed the letters ADA and then assembled into a seamless, moving line. As we continue to merge, creating physical and attitudinal access, John Hockenberry said it well in his blog The Takeaway, and#8220;ADA has had an impact on architecture, diversity in education and the way we think of accessible commercial spaces as more modern and welcoming for all.and#8221; One big ocean moving forward!
and#8212; Candace Cable directs Turning Point Tahoe, a Truckee chapter of the nonprofit organization, Turning Point. Visit http://www.turningpointnation.org/tahoe.html.