Vol. 20 No. 2
From the Center Nancy C. Schock - President
Arch and I are happy to have this "summer" issue of the Information Center's newsletter on its way to you. We realize, as fall approaches that we are more mindful of the opportunities and responsibilities that await, which we want to accept, in order to fulfill our mission, namely, "to provide information to individuals living with disabilities designed to assist them in their day-to-day activities; and to assist them to acquire knowledge which will (a) promote their social, economic, and general well- being, (b) foster independence and self-sufficiency and/or (c) afford them an opportunity to lead more satisfying lives. (part of the Articles of Organization of the Information Center for Individuals with Disability.)
When those words were written twenty three years ago it was a much different world for people with disabilities. Our children were not welcome in the public schools, no laws protected our right to work and to live on our own. Stores, restaurants, and public buildings were not accessible not to mention parks and beaches. People with disabilities were all but invisible in entertainment and the workplace. There were very few power wheelchairs and even the term assistive technology had not yet been invented. The Center was born because there was no organized way to obtain empowering information.
There has been so much progress over these years. Many more opportunities exist for individuals living with disability to experience a rich life today. This change has come about because of an increase in understanding and acceptance by our society, the development of sophisticated medical and rehabilitation care and technology, education, financial assistance, and improved architectural access. But most of all, it has come from the hard work and persistence of people with disabilities who refused to accept the way it was and demanded the full rights of American citizenship and human dignity. Much has been won and much has begun to be taken for granted. We must all understand that it is not enough to win rights and opportunities, we must guard and expand them every day.
In this time of national decision, the first election of a new millennium, we must be alert to change. It is your and our responsibility to maintain what has been achieved, to take care of what has been built, and not allow rejection of what has been accepted. Consider the candidates for office who accept our rights, and appreciate our abilities; let them know your views and then be sure to vote. By being responsible and vigilant, we can assure that the progress of the past continues into the future.