The Olympia City Council signed a proclamation designating March 2023 as Disability Awareness Month on Tuesday, March 7.
In signing the proclamation, the city recognized that persons with disabilities are "valued and vital part of the community as workers, civic leaders, business owners, veterans, family members, and friends."
The city council urged the community to strive for education to understand the valued contributions people with disabilities make in Olympia.
The proclamation stated that the city believed that the most effective way to increase awareness and strive for equitable change is through the community's openness to acknowledge that systemic barriers, negative stereotypes, and harmful attitudes around individuals with disabilities exist.
According to the proclamation, Olympia is committed to ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities by giving equal access, increasing accessibility, and committing to full inclusion to be equal community members.
"The City of Olympia acknowledges that those barriers impact the ability of individuals with disabilities to enjoy equitable experiences and live independent, productive lives within our community," stated the proclamation.
Councilmember Lisa Parshley thanked the city council for the proclamation.
"I grew up with a mother with a disability due to polio, and coming to a restaurant with stairs was an incredible barrier, especially later in life. We would have to pick another restaurant. Or walk up to a parking meter, and it is above the height of wheelchair access," Parshley recounted.
"The realization of simple barriers sometimes escapes us," Parshley added.
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