Disabled people in Alachua County celebrate the ADA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- July is Disability Awareness Month in the Gainesville area, and the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office put on an expo to celebrate 26 years since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
More than 125 people were reminded of the importance of the ADA in giving opportunities to people with diabilities.
Drew Dees, an advocate for people with disabilites, said, "I haven't always been outgoing and this self-accepting as what I am today."
He was born with cerebral palsy but that has not stopped him from trying to make a difference.
"I believe that God put me in this chair because he needed someone strong enough to fight and stand up and be the voice and the face for people with disabilities," he said.
"Every July, Alachua County Board of Commissioners issues a proclamation, declaring the month of July as Disabilities Awareness Month," said Jacqueline Chung with the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office.
City programs like employment services and public transportation were highlighted. Caregivers were given advice and encouragement.
A representative from the Supervisor of Elections office was showing people that there is easily accessible equipment here for disabled voters.
Maxine Stallings, with the Alachua County Council for the Blind, has a degenerative condition that caused her to lose her sight as she aged. She said she has attended for the past four years, and she learned something new this year.
"If I go to a department store and request assistance to go shopping, that department store has an obligation to provide an individual to help me to go shopping," said Stallings.
"The more outreach, the more awareness, the better off we are with people thinking along more inclusive lines," said Chung.
Dees dreams of becoming a sports reporter, and he said he's determined to make that happen.
"We've come a long way in 26 years but we still have a long way to go. I'm just lucky and blessed that we're able to be vibrant and able to have our own dreams and aspirations," said Dees.
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