Two Hearts Beat as One - USA Disability Rights Trip
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25 March 2015: Our friend and colleague Martin Naughton and his team are currently in America, in a month-long journey designed to connect with key locations and leaders associated with the advancement of human rights in the United States.
Commencing in New York, their journey will then move on to Washington DC - where they will mark the 25th anniversary of the Capitol Crawl which led to the passing of the influential Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - and to Atlanta, Georgia, where they will formally engage with the Martin Luther King Center and members of Doctor King’s family. From there, they will travel to Selma, Alabama, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic march to Montgomery by undertaking the full length of the walk themselves.
Martin Naughton has said; "That journey – and all those who undertook it – made history. Now, it’s our time.
"We will honour the initiative and resilience of those who have fought for equal rights and citizenship, transposing their values and experiences in the inaugural Rights Rally – taking place in the International Athletics Arena in Athlone on 4th May – which will see up to a thousand people with disabilities and their families, friends and communities making their own journey to demand their civil and human rights.
"The Rights Rally marks the first major national gathering of its kind, a unique and enlivening event to reawaken a potent and collective energy in the disability community, and – most importantly - to stand up for the rights of people with disabilities. It will be a vibrant, defining opportunity to kick-start a new drive for positive change and provoke the determination in us all to unite behind a loud call for equality. It’s about seeing past our organisations or the different disabilities that we live with, but recognising ourselves as individuals and the power that we hold in coming together, claiming our voices and inciting the change that we want to happen.
"As well as joining together in a powerful march for equality, we will hear from people with disabilities about their own experiences and ideas, consider the challenges and opportunities facing us in new and creative ways, and celebrate emerging visions for change. And, above all, we will enjoy this major social gathering as a time to create a collective energy and confidence to not only seize these visions and declare them as our own, but to build the solidarity and motivation to actually accomplish them."
We wish Martin and his team best of luck, and look forward to the Rights Rally 2015 in Athlone in May. For more details on Martin and his trip, please see the attached PDF.
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