New Britain will observe the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — on Wednesday, July 24th, with a “Walk and Roll” event around Walnut Hill Park beginning a 5:30 p.m.
The City, under the auspices of Mayor O’Brien and the Commission on Persons with Disabilities, is sponsoring the event that will include ice cream sundaes, tee-shirts and music at the band shell.
Persons who rely on wheel chairs and scooters to get around will participate to celebrate the civil rights law that “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”
The ADA became law in July 1990 with adoption of legislation sponsored by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. In 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the ADA, Harkin said:
“The Americans with Disabilities Act — signed into law on July 26, 1990 — has been described as the Emancipation Proclamation for people with disabilities. It sets four goals for people with disabilities: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. But at its heart, the ADA is simple. In the words of one activist, this landmark law is about securing for people with disabilities the most fundamental of rights: “the right to live in the world.” It ensures they can go places and do things that other Americans take for granted. I will always remember a young Iowan named Danette Crawford. In 1990, she was just 14. She used a wheelchair and lived with great pain. But she campaigned hard for the ADA. When I told her that the ADA would mean better educational opportunities and prevent workplace discrimination, Danette said: “Those things are very important. But, you know, what I really want to do is just be able to go out and buy a pair of shoes like anybody else.”
The ADA will be an enduring part of Senator Harkin’s legacy. He will not be seeking re-election in 2014.
Nicole Rodriguez, a high school graduation specialist in the Hartford School system and parent, is the choice of the Democratic Town Committee to fill the seat left vacant by Dr. Nicole Sanders who recently resigned from the Board of Education.
Ms. Rodriguez, who holds a master’s degree in school counseling, volunteers as Alton F. Brooks Youth Basketball Commissioner and coach. She also coaches for the CT Heat AAU Girls Basketball Club. She serves on the board of directors of the New Britain-Berlin YMCA and was a recipient of WMCA’s Ron Brooks Youth Development Award.
Rodriguez was among five candidates seeking endorsement for three BOE seats up for election this year. In seeking a board seat she told the DTC of her interest in being a member of the Board of Education: I am a stakeholder, educator and I am committed to quality education. As a parent and educator I am concerned and determined that our children receive the best education possible. I have over 12 years’ experience as an educator. Many of them include working to reduce the dropout rate for at risk students.
If appointed by the New Britain Common Council, Rodriguez will serve for the remainder of a term that ends in 2015. The appointment could come at the August meeting of the Common Council.