Nationwide campaign acknowledges talents and contributions of people with disabilities
StoryKing County leaders are joining with people across the nation to recognize the talents and contributions of people with disabilities. Celebrated every October, Disability Awareness Month affirms the principles of equality and inclusion and recognizes efforts to ensure equal opportunity and equal access through civil rights legislation.
“We are strong because we recognize that everyone, regardless of challenges, has a vital role to play in our society,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Access to opportunity, including employment, education, transportation, and public accommodation, isn’t just the legal thing to do – it's the right thing to do.”
On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council issued a proclamation urging everyone to reaffirm efforts to achieve a society that affords independence, justice, and dignity for people with disabilities.
“This proclamation is an occasion to remember that if given opportunities, everyone has a talent or ability that can benefit their community,” said Council Chair Larry Gossett.
“Every person deserves the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of our economy and communities,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson, Vice Chair of the Metropolitan King County Council. “I’m pleased that the Council is recognizing Disability Awareness Month to help ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected, and that individuals with disabilities are recognized for their contributions to our society.”
“This month of awareness recognizes the contributions that those with disabilities contribute to the workplace and their communities,” said Council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “I am proud of King County’s efforts to utilize the talents and skills of our own staff with disabilities.”
King County has been recognized nationally for supporting people with disabilities, chiefly for hiring practices and for fostering employment opportunities in the community. More than 600 local businesses join with King County to open doors to employment for people with developmental disabilities.
“Ensuring that people with disabilities are fully able to participate in their community benefits all people,” said King County Councilmember Larry Phillips. “We appreciate the contributions to King County made by people with disabilities, and are proud to provide accessible jobs, as well as services like public transportation.”
“I’m very pleased that the council is recognizing this important month honoring our citizens with disabilities,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “They deserve equal opportunities to use their skills, live productive lives and contribute to the enrichment of our society and culture. We all benefit when more people are able to be self-supporting.”
“King County has always been at the forefront of ensuring the rights of people with disabilities,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “I am proud to represent a county that looks past the differences in our residents and strives hard to provide equal access and opportunities to all.”
In addition, King County has led the nation to create accessible transportation. King County Metro Transit was one of the first transit agencies in the nation to offer wheelchair-accessible buses. During Disability Awareness Month, Metro is celebrating this history of leadership with a campaign called "We Are Metro."
“Metro was a pioneer in making buses accessible for customers, and we continue to innovate,” said Metro general manager Kevin Desmond. “Transit is a vital pathway to employment and healthcare, and providing that service for people with disabilities is a commitment Metro will always embrace.”
The county's Office of Civil Rights also helps ensure the rights of people with disabilities. By investigating and resolving cases of alleged discrimination in employment, housing, or public accommodations, the office helps ensure that those who have disabilities can fully participate in their community.
WHEREAS, King County affirms the principles of equality and inclusion for people with disabilities as embodied in the Americans with Disabilities Act, Washington State laws, and King County ordinances; and
WHEREAS, we are strengthened as a society by striving to ensure that everyone has full and equal access to employment, education, transportation, recreation, cultural activities, and community life, regardless of disability; and
WHEREAS, people with disabilities are an irreplaceable resource, and we cannot morally or financially afford to lose the contributions they bring, not only to the workplace, but also to our community as a whole; and
WHEREAS, access to public transportation is essential for the full participation of people with disabilities in our community; and
WHEREAS, King County Metro celebrates its history of leadership and continued commitment to transit customers with disabilities with the We Are Metro Campaign;
WHEREAS, breaking down structural, organizational, and attitudinal barriers requires cooperative, sustained, and consistent effort;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, hereby proclaim the month of October 2013 as
DISABILITY AWARENESS MONTH
in King County and urge everyone to join us in reaffirming our determination to achieve a society that affords independence, justice, and dignity for all.
DATED this fourteenth day of October, 2013.