March is a special month at The Arc

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Arc of Freeborn County is proud to join advocates across the country to recognize March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The month will commemorate the progress in improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and highlight the challenges that remain in achieving full inclusion for this constituency.

The Arc’s advocacy efforts were crucial to President Ronald Reagan’s signing of a proclamation in 1987 affirming that “Americans are becoming increasingly aware that such disabilities need not keep individuals from realizing their full potential in school, at work or at home, as members of their families and of their communities.”

And now, nearly a quarter century later, 700-plus chapters of The Arc will take its advocacy to a new level through raising awareness on the right of people with I/DD to live, learn and work as they choose in the community. People with I/DD deserve and demand respect, and while there have been many positive strides, there is still much to be done. For the more than 7 million people with I/DD and their families, respect is hard-won and is possible only by changing attitudes and creating opportunity. They want to lead self-determined lives, be fully included and enjoy their civil liberties — just like every other American.

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Developmental Disabilities Month is our time — join us in raising awareness through any of the following ways: volunteer, donate, speak up against the use of the r-word (retarded), speak out to elected officials on issues impacting people with I/DD, and more. Or call The Arc at 377-3469 to learn what else you can do to help The Arc continue to change hearts and minds in March.

Jo Lowe

Albert Lea