Edition 17 | Summer 2019
By Phil Pangrazio, President & CEO, Ability360
Photo by Loren Worthington
On July 26th, 2019, we will celebrate the 29th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This historic piece of legislation was a watershed moment in civil rights for people with disabilities worldwide. It was the culmination of two and a half decades worth of relentless advocacy.
Things are not perfect today, but we only need to look at our progress to be encouraged for an even better future. Some of the stories you’ll read in this edition of LivAbility are certainly evidence of that.
Not enough can be said about the effort required to open the new light rail station at 50th Street and Washington, near Ability360.
It’s a clear indication that the disability community should be included when it comes to public transit. It was a monumental achievement for all who voiced their support for its construction. We proved that advocacy can move mountains and create incredible change anywhere!
Next, let me say goodbye to two of 360’s VPs who are retiring this summer. Susan Webb and Gwen Dean have been with us from the beginning and both were instrumental in our growth, success, and stature within this community. Thank you and good luck, ladies!
As I peruse all the stories in this edition of LivAbility and I think about everything happening locally, nationally and beyond, I’m reminded of how much has been accomplished. We are living productive lives when yet in the not-too-distant past people with disabilities were considered to be a burden.
This spring I met Daniel Gomez a delegate from the U.S. Department of State’s Global Sports Mentoring Program (GSMP). The program trains and supports leaders to serve their local communities by increasing access and opportunities for participation in adaptive sports. Daniel is developing an adaptive surfing program for youth in México. This young man was professional and organized and had a passion for introducing people to surfing. I’m confident he is out there making a difference and I hope you take the time to read about his journey on page 40.
I hope everyone realizes they too can find a way to make a difference. Find your passion, get mad about the current conditions and then just get busy. It’s a great time to celebrate 29 years of progress and inclusion. It’s also an opportunity to do your part before the BIG THREE-OH arrives next year.
Ability360 President and CEO
Read more by Phil Pangrazio.