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(St. Louis, Missouri) Advocates and supporters packed into the Missouri History Museum on July 28 to welcome the Road To Freedom bus and crew and to hear local and national leaders call for restoration of the ADA. The event was produced by Paraquad, a private, not-for-profit community-based Center for Independent Living in partnership with the museum and with community partners including Cohen Hilberry Architects, Impact, Inc., Joni & Friends Gateway, and Linc, Inc. Road To Freedom Bus Stop at Missouri History MuseumThe speakers panel for the afternoon included Moderator Jim Tuscher, Paraquad; Jim Ward, ADA Watch and The Road to Freedom; David Newburger, Newburger and Vossmeyer, LLC and the Starkloff Disability Institute; Kyle Tate, Paraquad; Gina Hillberry, Cohen Hillberry Architects; and Max Starkloff, Starkloff Disability Institute.

The speakers spoke passionately about “keeping the promise of the ADA.” We heard stories about people having trouble keeping employment after getting MS; difficulties finding accessible parking; suing Metro to make sure the transit system complies with the ADA and more. The crowd was large and took the opportunity to make statements and ask questions of the panel. Max Starkloff described the progress on an amazing partnership with the museum that will result in a permanent 6,000 square foot disability history exhibit due to be completed in 2010.

The presentation and the Road To Freedom traveling exhibit was set-up in the MacDermott Grand Hall — with a full-size replica of the Spirit of St. Louis airplane hanging from the ceiling over our heads! The local TV station was there and recorded images of participants signing the petition to restore the ADA, enjoying the reception and sharing in disability pride and community.

Tom Olin’s work is central to the Road To Freedom exhibit and is featured on many panels of the Advocates Coming Together (ACT) exhibit panels which we have also been displaying at recent stops. Tom, of course, is busy photographing each of our stops and chronicling our journey. This was a beautiful setting for the exhibit and the staff of the Missouri History Museum could not have been more supportive of our efforts.