Montana Independent Living (IL) Symposium gathering held in July
Missoula and Summit played host to the 2010 Montana Independent Living (IL) Symposium this past July! Our theme “You Have The Power, Live The Dream”! was a call to action from one of our beloved national leaders, Justin Dart, 20 years ago in moving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Justin has since passed on YET his dream lived on through close to 200 people who participated in this event. We continued to develop our statewide independent living 2011 legislative and advocacy goals so that we will continue the work of the disability movement across Montana. Staff, peers, consumers and board members from the Statewide Independent Living Council, Living Independently for Today and Tomorrow (LIFTT), Montana Independent Living Project (MILP), North Central Independent Living Services (NCILS), and Summit ILC made up the majority of the participants.
Once again the Hilton Garden Inn was an outstanding conference host site along with eight other local Reserve Street motels who offered lodging for our statewide travelers! We want to thank Billie Altom, Executive Director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) for coming back to Missoula and presenting how important our work is not only in Montana but as a part of the national independent living movement. Also, a shout out goes to Cindy Powell, Outreach Specialist and former Montanan, who came from Denver’s Rocky Mountain ADA Center, to give us a refresher about the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). From Big Sky Country we want to thank the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), the Montana Youth Leadership Forum (MYLF), and the Rural Institute for the excellent support they offered this 2010 Montana IL Symposium. In addition our heart-felt gratitude to the many vendors, personal assistants, interpreters, and the closed caption worker who provided the valuable information and resources or accommodations that were needed to get our two days of work done and increase momentum for this strategic statewide planning and disability gathering. Please read our related articles on the upcoming campaign forums and 2011 legislation for more information.
Americans with Disability Act (ADA) Celebrations
July 26th was the official 20th anniversary of the ADA! The ADA proclamation was read at both the Missoula City Council and Missoula County Commissioners meeting earlier that month. Summit also had a blast hosting two celebrations that week!
The first gathering was at Fort Missoula and around 400 people came to party! We had vendors from the disability community who sold T-shirts, books, jewelry and their art! The kids say a huge thank you to the YMCA for providing fun activities, Uncle Curley – the Balloon Man for making amazing creatures and face painting from volunteers. There was tasty barbeque from Famous Dave’s, ADA anniversary cakes and let’s not forget our local vendor – Captain Hook’s ice cream! Some of the fun highlights were neck and shoulder massages by Virginia Morrison, a demonstration of the lift for wildlife viewing & hunting access that will be available at the Sapphire Ranch near Lolo, and the Rural Institute’s MATOR project demo of an accessible tent and other recreation equipment. Jeff Swenson brought his Action Track chair and let adults drive that accessible mini tank around the Fort lawn! Our lead speaker was Billie Altom, from APRIL. Jean Curtis from the County Commissioners read our local Missoula proclamation. Representatives from both Senator Tester and Representative Rothberg’s local office gave national recognition to the ADA. Thank you to the many volunteers who helped set up and clean up for this event! The best part of the evening was catching up with old friends and meeting new people from Montana and disability culture!
The second event was sponsoring our Out To Lunch event at downtown Caras Park in Missoula! We hosted a table at the event with materials about the ADA, as well as ADA T-shirts and ADA fans to share. Thank you to the Missoula Downtown Association and Jessica Daniels who offered all of the public relations marketing work ahead of time! We all enjoyed the music from a local country band called Sho Down and the SpectrUM Science Tent is always a huge hit with the kids!
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 20th Anniversary T-Shirts For Sale!!
Summit is one of four Montana independent living centers selling ADA T-shirts for $10 each! If you are proud of what has been accomplished by people with disabilities in the past 20 years and want to show your commitment to the next 20 years, please consider buying a shirt! We have seen a number of logos across the US this summer however we think our shirts have a clear message from one of our dear national leaders, Justin Dart “You Have The Power, Live The Dream”! Contact Jude, Mike Beers, Mary Olson, or your county coordinator for getting this memento of the 20th anniversary of ADA.