(Chicago, Illinois) The Freedom Bus traveled to Chicago on July 21, where we joined thousands in celebrating our disabilities at the annual Disability Pride Parade. With Tom Olin at the wheel, the bus joined floats, accessible vehicles and advocates who followed the 1/2 mile parade route to Daley Plaza for the post-parade celebration. Jim and Deb and the boys walked along the bus greeting participants and talking up ADA Restoration.

With the bus parked near the many organizational booths on the Plaza, Jim Ward took to the stage to call on participants to view the exhibit and sign the petition. His remarks were part of a long program of advocates and entertainers promoting disability pride.

This is the fourth year of this national event founded by disability rights advocate, Sarah Triano. The 2007 Parade Marshal was Kathy Martinez, the executive director of World Institute on Disability (WID). Also honored at the event was the former Chair of the National Council on Disability and the president of Access Living, Marca Bristo.

The overall mission of the Disability Pride Parade is 1) To change the way people think about and define “disability”; 2) To break down and end the internalized shame among people with Disabilities; and 3) To promote the belief in society that Disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with Disabilities can take pride. The objectives for the parade are: To organize a fully inclusive, annual event that will celebrate and strengthen the pride, power, and unity of people with disabilities, our families, and allies; and to generate national visibility of the Disability community

The event kicked-off on Friday night with an open mic at the Chicago Freedom Museum. For more about the Disability Pride Parade, go to: www.disabilityprideparade.com