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Disability Ball On Tap For Obama Inauguration


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Amid the glitz and glamour surrounding President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in the coming days will be a special ball specifically for the disability community.

Over 400 people from across the nation are expected to mingle with members of Congress and Obama administration officials at the Disability Community Inaugural Ball this Saturday night.

The event at the National Press Club, which is open to the public, is one of several balls scheduled to celebrate Obama’s inauguration on Monday.

The disability ball is being hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities and Disability Power & Pride and has support from The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy and the National Council on Independent Living, among other groups.

Those planning the event say it’s a chance for people affected by all types of disabilities to come together as a community and make an impression in Washington while also having some fun.

Several members of Congress including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., are part of the honorary committee for the ball. It’s unclear if they will all make it to the event, but Harkin, Hoyer and Kareem Dale, a disability adviser to Obama, were among the officials who attended the first disability ball in 2009.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see that we are a community capable of wielding political power,” said Jonathan Young, co-chair of the steering committee for the ball.

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. Barb says:

    While on one hand I can see that the people putting on this ball think they have a great idea, on the other hand I can see that this is further segregation of the disability community. Shouldn’t all people, with and without disabilities, be able to go to any ball put on for the inauguration? Just MHO.

  2. VMGillen says:

    Absolutely: segregation continues. I guess at some point, people who were told to ride in the back of the bus were overjoyed that they could even board the bus?

  3. Kevin says:

    I think this is wonderful! What a great event for folks with disabilities and these agencies. This isnt segregation. All groups host their own events regardless of race, religion, or disability.

  4. Melissa Masland says:

    This is a great idea and an opportunity for people with disabilities to celebrate and be seen. This isn’t segregation, this is a group of individuals with common concerns coming together to show that they are a political force. How else do you effect change in Washington? Bravo to the organizers, I only wish my daughter was going.

  5. Terry Archer says:

    So if I am asked to go to an all white ball and there would be no other population from other ethic groups what would we call it?

  6. Vivian, RN says:

    Disabilities will be looked at differently when the government looks at us differently. There are those with physical disabilities, whose intellectual abilities are not compromised. There are those that have mental disabilities, who help us see the world as a simple, uncomplicated journey. Thank goodness!! My point is that we all have a ‘disability’ of some sort. No one is perfect. And the sooner that we become mindful of any and all disabilities, the sooner we will understand each other. Corny, maybe, but true. I agree that it should not be a separate ball……..we all belong together.

  7. Ellen says:

    Why not just make sure to include people with disabilities in the other events? This just reinforces old stereotypes. Segregation is segregation.

  8. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    You got to be kidding. A “special” ball. Are they going to have a “special” ball for African-Americans? for Native Americans? I thought we were moving toward INCLUSION–not segregation. Why would people with disabilities not be invited to participate in the regular balls? Why would they ever go to a segregated ball? I don’t get it. How are policymakers ever going to understand that we are fighting for civil rights when leaders with disabilities accept a “special ball”?

  9. Sbg says:

    Segregation…really? It is 2013! Why are we still allowing this??

  10. DA says:

    I don’t see it as segregation. Having a disability ball doesn’t mean that people with disabilities are prohibited from attending other Inaugural Balls. To me it means that the Obama Administration recognizes that people with disabilities comprise a sizeable, important, and powerful civil rights group in this country, and we deserve some recognition. I consider it an honor, not a slap in the face. And if members of Congress such as Dick Durbin and Tom Harkin, who have worked tirelessly for decades in support of people with disabilities, have attended this ball previously, I think that speaks highly of the worthiness of the event. I think too often to we jump to the negative when we read or hear about something, and don’t take the time to consider the positive. I believe in President Obama, and his message of inclusion. I can’t see his administration creating this ball as a means of segregation. Segregation is definitely not what he is about.

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