Where were you on March 13th? If you are a supporter of people with disabilities, you were probably at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. It was there that Oklahomans with disabilities and disability advocates gathered to let their voices be heard on this 24th People with Disabilities Awareness Day. Here’s what happened at this year’s event.
People with Disabilities Awareness Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol
For the second year, Oklahoma People First teamed up with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services to help promote this year’s event. This year’s theme was “Go All In”, which called for everyone to work together to remove barriers for people with disabilities who live in Oklahoma. And lawmakers made themselves available to do just that.
Advocates and Oklahomans had an opportunity to communicate with state legislators to talk about disability and solutions that could help Oklahomans with disabilities live independent lives. Visits started at 12:30 PM as volunteers helped facilitate visits and provide any assistance when needed. Sign language interpreters, Braille and large print materials were also provided to accommodate everyone and allow for full participation.
On the South Plaza, speeches were delivered by Parker Simpson—a student from Oklahoma School for the Deaf—and Trinity Lewis—a senior from the Oklahoma School for the Blind. These speakers talked about their lives and struggles as students with disabilities preparing for higher education and future careers. These speakers were also joined by Governor Mary Fallin, who delivered a keynote speech to an at-capacity crowd before members of the community were given awards from the Department of Rehabilitation Services for their service and advocacy.
This year, over 750 advocates attended People with Disabilities Awareness Day events at the Capitol. Organizers are hoping even more people will attend next year. Disability issues are at the heart of Oklahoma’s government and our people. The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services served 97,864 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2017 and that number could rise in future years. With that in mind, the disability attorneys here at Troutman & Troutman, P.C. will continue to serve those in need, so they can have the benefits necessary to maintain their lives.