(Honolulu, Hawaii) The Road To Freedom bus tour — minus the bus! — was welcomed by the Hawaii disability community in Honolulu. ADA Watch’s Jim Ward, carting the Road To Freedom exhibit, left the bus — and fellow crew members — and flew in for Road To Freedom stops in Honolulu and Maui. He received a warm “Aloha” and traditional lei greeting at the airport by Madeline Harcourt and Pina Lemusu of the Hawaii Centers for Independent Living.

Beautiful weather and a wonderful array of food and beverages greeted us for the event in the courtyard of the historic YWCA of Hawaii, where the exhibit was presented and a video screen displayed Tom Olin‘s historic images of the ADA struggle.

Participants included consumers, advocates, and representatives of a number of disability organizations, as well as staff members from the offices of various state representatives. Speakers included Pat Lockwood, Executive Director of the Hawaii Centers for Independent Living; Steve Brown, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii; Joe Cordova, Administrator Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Department of Human Services; and Cheryl Nelson, Executive Director of the Hawaii Statewide Independent Living Council.

Jim Ward said a big “Mahala” for all the work that was done to pull off this event — and an apology for not being able to arrange the suggested “military transport” to bring the bus over from the mainland! He outlined the purpose of the tour: increasing public awareness of the history of the people’s movement leading to passage of the ADA; the backlash in the courts against the ADA; and how we can fix it with the proposed ADA Restoration Act.

Members of the audience then came to the podium to provide moving testimonials of their own experience living with disabilities and the work that remains to be done in order to fulfill the promise of the ADA. These testimonials were filmed on high definition video and will be part of a documentary that is be produced in partnership with filmmaker, John Ryan. John’s previous film, Right To Risk, is now airing on PBS.

Following this event, all involved left the YWCA and marched several blocks to the State Capitol behind a large banner with the Road To Freedom message of “Keeping the Promise of the ADA.” We visited a number of state representatives, House and Senate staffers, as well as the Governor and Lt. Governor’s offices.