The ADA’s Road to Freedom bus was parked outside the Texas State Museum this morning; buses like these are headed out all over the country this year to various venues. In many ways, the ADA perhaps hasn’t received the kinds of recognition and public awareness of how the ADA is the lynchpin of awareness of people with disabilities. In fact, in this author’s opinion, it’s one of the foundations of Civil Rights; it’s a good time to reflect on the Civil Rights era; if you’ve seen the movie Selma, it can refuel your work & activism in Civil Rights.
VSA of Texas has played a key part in community awareness of the Arts and people with disabilities. Many participants in VSA’s services have physical & psychological disabilities. This author has Bipolar & PTSD and has participated as a volunteer and contract facilitator for one of its major programs Open Minds, Open Doors—class participants learn how to write their own stories, perform them, and work as a group practicing and meeting for homework. Those class members who want to, can volunteer to be an advocate for people with disabilities.
VSA staff has also trained other service providers in varied skills of how the Arts can be used in training those with intellectual, physical or psychiatric disabilities.
One other program was evident today: it’s called Body Shift. (Check them out at bodyshift.org, and vsatx.org). Body Shift is where folks gather to move, dance, and in general do Art that grooves with music and flare. The dance team that performed today on the plaza of The Texas State Museum (finding times of intermittent rain outside). Performers in the group were: Susie Angel, Linda Farwell, Kathey Ferland, Amy Latzinger, Silva Laukkanen, Juan Munoz, Tonya Winters, and Tonya Winters. Accompanying by the music of Having the Compass & Dragon Fly Across Ancient Sky.
As the twenty-fifth anniversary of the passing of ADA has reminded us, that the protection of our human & civil rights is one of our most valuable tasks at hand. It fully supports the kinds of work with which VSA is presently engaged.
©Christopher Bear-Beam March 3, 2015