ADA Awards Held at MOSI in Tampa listen07/26/10 Lachelle Roddy
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The 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act was celebrated in Tampa on Saturday. MOSI hosted the annual Disability Advocacy Awards honoring individuals who improve the lives of disabled people in the Hillsborough County area.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan attended the event and declared July 24th as official Disability Awareness Day.
â€œTherefore be it proclaimed that the board of county commissioners of Hillsborough County Florida have hereby set aside July 24th 2010 as Disability Awareness Day and urges itâ€™s citizens to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Americanâ€™s with Disabilities Act by increasing their awareness on Disability related issues, making a personal reformation the principals of equality and celebration of Hillsborough Countyâ€™s outstanding individuals, businesses, and organizations that have advocated for increased accessibility.â€
Katie Mathews, Miss Junior Wheelchair Florida 2010 was the eventâ€™s main speaker. Her chosen topic: the effects of driving and texting.
"Their studies have also shown that drivers using cell phones are almost as bad as someone with a 0.8 blood alcohol level. Now Iâ€™m sure you wouldnâ€™t want to get in the phone with someone whoâ€™s been drinking, so why get in the car with someone whoâ€™s on the phone? I know most of have been guilty of it, but itâ€™s not something to worth your life over."
Commissioners Kevin Beckner and Ken Hagan presented the awards. Benjamin Carter won the Outstanding Youth/ Young Adult Service Award, and Richard Placid won the Outstanding Community Service Award.
Stefani Busansky, a former Peace Corps Volunteer, won the Outstanding Accessible Places for People Award for her dedication to eliminating barriers on the playground.
"Weâ€™re all validating each other, but I think weâ€™re just continuously inspired by each and every one of us to speak out and continue to be included. And thatâ€™s what I try to do with Play because I think itâ€™s important to start very, very young so that everyone sees that we all have a voice, and weâ€™re all important in the community.â€
Barry Blood, a licensed mental health professional, explained why the event was so important to the community.
"I'm a volunteer with a deaf service bureau of West Central Florida. We are providing sign language interpreting services for today's festivities. So it's important for us to be able to spend time with the community, or spend time with the individuals in the community and provide services to individuals who would benefit from having sign language interpreters at an expo like this."
To learn more about the ADA, visit our website, wmnf dot org slash news . Reporting from WMNF News, Iâ€™m Lachelle Roddy.