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Disability Awareness Day 2019 Press Release


February 1, 2019

Contact: Sarah Launderville, 802-224-1817

Keep Calm and Lead On!

Disability Awareness Day Set for Feb. 27

The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is gearing up for Disability

Awareness Day on Feb. 27. As usual, the event will take place under the

Golden Dome. The theme this year is citizen participation, and advocates

will be urging peers and legislators to “Keep calm and lead on!” This is a

nod to the late Justin Dart Jr., known as the “godfather of the Americans

with Disabilities Act.”

VCDR President Sarah Launderville said, “This is one of my favorite days of

the year, where people with disabilities from across the state come and

meet with lawmakers, connect with one another and are part of the political

process. The experiences of people with disabilities are important for

lawmakers to hear about firsthand. The stories will leave a lasting

impression, which in turn will lead to laws that are inclusive and

thoughtfully crafted as legislators connect to the lives of people with


A highlight of the day will be a keynote address by Patrick Standen. He will

deliver a speech entitled, “A Short History of a Very Long Problem:

Disability and Discrimination.” Standen is an author, teacher and activist

who teaches philosophy at Saint Michael’s College and medical ethics at the

University Vermont. He also serves as president of the Northeast Disabled

Athletic Association, a nonprofit organization that provides athletes with

physical disabilities competitive and recreational sporting opportunities.

Standen is a pioneer in adaptive sports and is a competitive athlete in a

number of sports including biathlon, Nordic sit skiing, sled hockey and


Another highlight of the day will be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. in

Room 11. Advocates will shine a spotlight on a number of VCDR priorities

including the need for a director in the Agency of Human Services

addressing issues in the Deaf, hard of hearing and Deaf-Blind community,

budget issues, unfreezing the Attendant Services Program and passing H.3

(an act relating to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public

schools), as well as identify other system gaps.

Disability Awareness Day will feature a graduation ceremony for graduates

of the 2019 Vermont Leadership Series, which trains Vermonters with

developmental disabilities, and their family members, to be advocates for

positive social change.

The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is a cross-disability advocacy

organization. VCDR member organizations, staff members and volunteers

engage individuals with disabilities and family members in Vermont’s

legislative and policy activities, enabling them to have a voice in the

administrative and legislative decisions that affect their daily lives and civil


VCDR gratefully acknowledges the support of the Vermont Developmental

Disabilities Council, the Vermont Statewide Independent Living Council and

the Center on Disability & Community Inclusion, UVM. Their financial

support makes the events of the day possible.

For more information about Disability Awareness Day, contact Stefanie

Monte at or 802-224-1820.

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