You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2007.

 Mankota Free Press

By Pat Christman

Ceremony at St. Peter Regional Treatment Center honors those whose graves were marked by just numbers

(Mankato, Minnesota) Remembering With Dignity, together with the Americans with Disabilities Act Road to Freedom tour, held a ceremony Saturday to honor the placement of hundreds of new grave markers in the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center’s cemetery.

Cemeteries have historically been the places people go to remember family members and friends who have died. Remember who they were and what they did while they were alive. In some cemeteries, such as the one on the grounds of the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, it can be a place to forget.

More than 12,500 graves in institution cemeteries in Minnesota are marked with only a number, if at all, according to Remembering With Dignity, a coalition of disability rights and advocacy organizations founded in 1994 to identify those people buried beneath a number and record their histories. Remembering With Dignity, together with the Americans with Disabilities Act Road to Freedom tour, held a ceremony Saturday to honor the placement of hundreds of new grave markers in the treatment center’s cemetery. Read the rest of this entry »

Michigan Mining Journal


MARQUETTE – A national bus tour promoting the Americans with Disabilities Act got plenty of support Tuesday when it stopped at the Marquette Commons.

“Is the ADA about charity?” asked Jim Ward, president of ADA Watch and the National Coalition of Disability Rights.

“No!” shouted back a crowd of more than 100 Upper Peninsula residents.

“Is the ADA about pity?” “No!”

“Is the ADA about sympathy?” “No!”

Ward has been traveling the country with his family, road crew and camera since November on the Road to Freedom bus, a disability rights tour designed to celebrate the 1990 ADA and raise awareness of issues that still need to be addressed.

His message is simple: this is a civil rights act, not charity or a bureaucratic mandate. “People aren’t familiar with the idea of people with disabilities active in civil rights and participating in acts of civil disobedience,” Ward said. “Hopefully, people can come to understand the people’s movement that got the ADA passed and that despite the hard work that went into it, it’s being rolled back in the courts.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Senator Tom Harkin Calls for Restoration of Americans with Disabilities Act
on the ‘Road to Freedom’ National Bus Tour

Advocates Living On the Road to Advance Disability Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)  joined a family of four, a prominent documentary photographer, and other advocates who are living and traveling aboard a bus during a yearlong, cross-country tour promoting civil rights protections for children and adults with physical, mental, cognitive, sensory and developmental disabilities. The “Road To Freedom” bus and traveling exhibit left Washington, DC last on November 15 with Yoshiko Dart, widow of the “Father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” Justin Dart, Jr. aboard.

The bus tour, produced by ADA Watch and the National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR), has traveled more than 15,000 miles with 45 bus stop events in 32 states, gathering petition signatures, registering citizens to vote and attracting significant local media attention. It will return to Washington, DC this coming November. Read the rest of this entry »

By Frank Strong, Jr.
Associate Director of the Central Iowa Center for Independent Living

After months of planning of the event to celebrate the arrival of the ADA “Road to Freedom” bus tour arrived in Des Moines, Iowa. The “Road to Freedom “ buses had been traveling around the states for the last eight months, both buses arrived in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday August 8, 2007.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 8, we spoke with Jim Ward over the telephone about their accommodations and their plans for the next two days while they spent time in central Iowa. The Road To Freedom tour actually consists of a convoy of vehicles including two buses, a Jeep, a travel trailer and a storage trailer. The Freedom Riders include Jim Ward, president of ADA Watch/National Coalition for Disability Rights, documentary photographer Tom Olin, former AOL director of accessibility Debbie Fletter Ward, video camera operator Amanda Meisner and the Ward’s children, Zach, age 3 and Jake, age 2. Tom captures photos of the events while the program includes dignitaries, policymakers, disability rights leaders, as well as Jim’s overview of the bus tour and call to pass the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. Read the rest of this entry »

By Guest Blogger: Mike Hoenig, Member of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Road to Freedom Tour Planning Committee

(Cedar Rapids, Iowa) August 10, 2007, will go down as a day to remember for disability advocates attending the Road to Freedom Tour/ADA Celebration in Cedar Rapids. Things got underway at 2 PM with tours of Veterans Memorial Stadium and a “meet and greet” with the Cedar Rapids Kernels minor league baseball team. While others were touring the stadium and meeting the players, I took the opportunity to visit the Road to Freedom’s Disability History Exhibit. What a profound experience! I was fascinated to learn that the first recorded reference to disability occurred around 3500 B.C. I was angry all over again when reminded of the segregation, confinement and mistreatment which people with disabilities faced for centuries. And I was inspired all over again by Justin Dart, whose spirit is as alive today as it was when he physically lived among us. Read the rest of this entry »

Click here to go to the photo gallery for this bus stop.

“We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

— From the opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren in the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education

(Topeka, Kansas) One of Tom Olin‘s photographs in the mural on the side of the Freedom Bus captures a protester with a disability holding a sign declaring, “Separate is Never Equal.” On August 1, as we pulled in front of the historic Monroe Elementary School building, Dennis Vasquez, Superintendent of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, enthusiastically told us that he could think of no better place for the bus to stop. This incredible event was sponsored by the Topeka Independent Living Resource Center (TILRC) and, on very short notice, local advocates and supporters welcomed us and highlighted the strong bonds between the African American Civil Rights and Disability Civil Rights movements. Read the rest of this entry »