“We are not the ADA police, but we are here to promote accessibility.” — Larry Gorton, Vice-Chair of the grassroots disability rights group Access 4 All Spokane, during the dedication of the city’s first inclusive baseball field at Mission Park.
Nice article in Wednesday’s Spokesman-Review about the dedication of the city’s first inclusive baseball field. Larry Gorton was there and he explained to the reporter what A4A is about. Be sure to read all the way to the end of the story:
About 50 people braved the downpours Thursday night to attend the Legislative Candidates Forum on Disability Issues at Spokane Falls Community College.
Nine candidates for Washington State Senate and House of Representatives answered our questions on how they would address issues that are important to local citizens with disabilities. Those included explaining their priorities and plans regarding public transportation; accessible & affordable housing; interactions between law enforcement and people with disabilities; institutional and community living supports; education; and employment.
It was a great opportunity to have the candidates side-by-side to give us their thoughts and tell their stories. After the forum, many of the candidates stayed to meet one-on-one and talk more informally with audience members.
Kudos to the candidates for coming and being so direct and open with us.
Thanks go to the organizers of this event, including Reisha Abolofia, Betty Schwieterman and David Lord from Disability Rights Washington; Darci Ladwig from the Spokane County Parent Coalition and The Arc of Spokane; Brian Holloway from The Arc of Spokane; Alisa Alonge from Access 4 All Spokane; Ed Kennedy from the Spokane Center for Independent Living; and Angela Merritt from the Disability Support Services office at Spokane Falls Community College.
Thanks also to Dave Sonntag from Gonzaga University for skillfully moderating the event.
I am honored, amazed, and extremely jazzed to tell you that on Monday, October 3, I received the 2016 Individual Access Award from Access Spokane, at an event hosted by Spokane Mayor David Condon.
Here’s a description of the award: It’s a solid wood 8 X 10 plaque with shiny gold print on a dark metal background, and reads “Access Spokane, 2016 Individual Access Award, Presented to Dave Reynolds, for providing outstanding and dedicated service to citizens with disabilities in the Spokane community.”
Ellen Nagourney, Vocational Services Specialist with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, read the following statement as the Mayor presented the award:
“It is unlikely that anyone in our area that identifies as having a disability has not heard of Dave Reynolds.
“Dave started with The Arc of Spokane as a Client Support Services Coordinator in 2008. In that capacity, Dave promoted opportunities to enhance the quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
“In 2012, Dave co-founded Access 4 All Spokane, a group that ‘celebrates and encourages accessible and disability friendly places, services, and events’ across Spokane County. He has trained a team of Accessibility Ambassadors who provide no-cost accessibility evaluations of local businesses and government campuses. These Accessibility Ambassadors help places become more aware of the challenges people with disabilities might face at their locations. In one short year, 100 places have been evaluated by Dave’s teams of Ambassadors.
“In 2013, Dave helped organize the first Spokane County Accessible Communities Advisory Committee, whose purpose is to ‘promote greater awareness of disability issues and improve access for, and inclusion and acceptace of, persons with disabilities in Spokane County’. This is accomplished in part by their advisory capacity with the Spokane County Board of County Commissioners and other local governments.
“Dave goes out of his way to advocate for individuals facing challenges within our community. The person who nominated Dave for this award, Larry Gorton, certainly appreciates the time and effort Dave spent supporting Larry in his persistent efforts to have ASL interpreters available at city neighborhood council and community assembly meetings. By the way, they were successful in their efforts.
“It is impossible for us to measure the true impact Dave has had on breaking down barriers to inclusion for people with disabilities of all ages through employment, residential, community access, training, education, advocacy, planning, and positive behavior support.”
How cool is that?
I am grateful to Mayor Condon, and appreciative of the organizers of the Access Spokane Awards.
Mostly, I am super grateful for my amazing friends with Access 4 All Spokane. It really feels awkward to accept this ‘individual’ award, considering that our work is such a team effort. I know they all would be telling me to get over myself already and accept the award. But, the truth is, none of this work could be done without their commitment, knowledge, expertise, and countless hours of work. Not to mention the personal advice and support they’ve given me, especially when things got tough.