A blog post

Disability Awareness Day February 27 at the VT Statehouse

Posted on the 21 February, 2019 at 10:13 am Written by in News



Keep Calm and Lead On!

Disability Awareness Day  February 27 at the VT Statehouse


The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is gearing up for Disability Awareness Day on Feb. 27. As usual, the event will take place under the Golden Dome. The theme this year is citizen participation, and advocates will be urging peers and legislators to “Keep calm and lead on!” This is a nod to the late Justin Dart Jr., known as the “Godfather of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”


VCDR President Sarah Launderville said, “This is one of my favorite days of the year, where people with disabilities from across the state come and meet with lawmakers, connect with one another and are part of the political process. The experiences of people with disabilities are important for lawmakers to hear about firsthand. The stories will leave a lasting impression, which in turn will lead to laws that are inclusive and thoughtfully crafted as legislators connect to the lives of people with



A highlight of the day will be a keynote address by Patrick Standen. He will deliver a speech entitled, “A Short History of a Very Long Problem: Disability and Discrimination.” Standen is an author, teacher and activist who teaches philosophy at Saint Michael’s College and medical ethics at the University Vermont. He also serves as president of the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association, a nonprofit organization that provides athletes with physical disabilities competitive and recreational sporting opportunities.


Standen is a pioneer in adaptive sports and is a competitive athlete in a number of sports including biathlon, Nordic sit skiing, sled hockey and sailing.


Another highlight of the day will be a press conference at 1:30 p.m. in Room 11. Advocates will shine a spotlight on a number of VCDR priorities including the need for a director in the Agency of Human Services addressing issues in the Deaf, hard of hearing and Deaf-Blind community, budget issues, unfreezing the Attendant Services Program and passing H.3 (an act relating to ethnic and social equity studies standards for public schools), as well as identify other system gaps.


Disability Awareness Day will feature a graduation ceremony for graduates of the 2019 Vermont Leadership Series, which trains Vermonters with developmental disabilities, and their family members, to be advocates for positive social change.

The Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights is a cross-disability advocacy organization. VCDR member organizations, staff members and volunteers engage individuals with disabilities and family members in Vermont’s legislative and policy activities, enabling them to have a voice in the administrative and legislative decisions that affect their daily lives and civil



VCDR gratefully acknowledges the support of the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council, the Vermont Statewide Independent Living Council and the Center on Disability & Community Inclusion, UVM. Their financial support makes the events of the day possible.


For more information about Disability Awareness Day, contact Stefanie Monte at

[email protected] or 802-224-1820.

The 2019 VCDR Platform is attached.

Submitted by Karen Lafayette  [email protected]


VCDR 2019 Platform FINAL DLB JAN19.pdf