The IC’s ADA Celebration 2015 Award Winners

The IC’s 2015 ADA Celebration
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush, in order to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and ensure equal access, opportunities, and participation throughout America. 2015 marks the 25th Anniversary of the historical signing of the ADA.
The Independence Center came together with the local community to acknowledge and celebrate this amazing achievement for American Civil Rights. The ADA Celebration honored Colorado and El Paso County community companies, organizations, and government entities that have made strides to help the Pikes Peak Region become more inclusive for people with disabilities. It also served to communicate the importance of these basic human rights and the future direction for The IC’s advocacy issues.
A special thanks goes to El Paso County AND the City of Colorado Springs for having proclamations in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, stating their continued commitment to complying with, and furthering, the Act. Merv Bennett, President of the Colorado Springs City Council, read the City’s proclamation at our annual event. And, Amy Lathen, El Paso County Commissioner, was representing at our annual event as well to represent the Board of County Commissioners’ ADA proclamation.

Award Winners

In addition, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The IC presented awards to the City of Colorado Springs’ ADA Office, El Paso County’s ADA Office, Accessible Communities Today (ACT) coalition, First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs, and Discount Tire Store at Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard for complying with and furthering acceptance of the ADA. Read below for information about why each was honored with this award.

  • Church

    First Congregational Church Awardees

    First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs was recognized for using capital campaign funds to add an elevator to the church, which also happens to be one of the oldest church buildings in the city, making these type of changes especially difficult. This elevator has allowed wheelchair access to areas of the building that were inaccessible before. Now, the entire building is 95% accessible. And what makes this even more special is that churches are exempt from having to comply with the ADA! Present at our annual event to accept the award were Reverend Dr. Benjamin Broadbent and Siri Everett.

  • City

    City of Colorado Springs Awardees

    The City of Colorado Springs was recognized for hiring an ADA Coordinator, Michael Killebrew, in March 2014. The City’s ADA office has also been installing a LOOP system in the City Council chambers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, conducting a self-evaluation of city operations, and has become one of the first cities west of the Mississippi to update the iconic person in the wheelchair symbol to a more action-oriented figure. Accepting the award were Michael Killebrew, Title II ADA Coordinator and Brett Waters, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director.

  • Church

    Discount Tire Store at Woodmen & Powers

    Discount Tire Store at Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard was recognized for acting quickly to an inaccessibility complaint. Within a three-week time span, Discount Tire Store had a transformer relocated, the inaccessible stairs and curbs were jack hammered out and replaced with a beautiful accessible entrance, and then they poured a circular driveway to allow for easier access to the building! Accepting the award at our annual event were Pat Cary, Regional Maintenance Manager and Jim Douglas, Store Manager.

  • El Paso County was also recognized for their efforts to further the ADA. Those present to accept the award were Rob Hernandez, ADA Coordinator; Jim Reid, Executive Director Public Services Department; and Amy Lathen, El Paso County Commissioner. Among their accomplishments are:

    El Paso County recipients

    • Hired an ADA Coordinator, Rob Hernandez, in August 2014
    • Added 3 videophones at the Criminal Justice Center and 6 more are in process for installation at 6 other county locations
    • Established the El Paso County ADA Advisory Committee which includes 10 county members and 5 opinion leader members from the community, such as Accessible Communities Today (ACT) coalition and The Independence Center
    • Completed a wheelchair accessible viewing area and other significant accessibility upgrades at the El Paso County Fairgrounds
    • Instituted an online ADA grievance procedure

ACT Members accepting their award

  • Accessible Communities Today (ACT) coalition were recognized for their work with local businesses, agencies, and government entities to help collaborate, educate, and bring awareness to others on issues surrounding the Americans With Disabilities Act. Present to accept the award were Sharon King, John Monteith, Charles (Rick) Orthwein, and Dave May.

Video of The IC’s 2015 ADA Celebration


“Lives Worth Living” Documentary Influential at Community Celebration

th at Stargazers Theatre. The ADA Celebration included a silent auction with items donated from around the community, a screening of the PBS documentary “Lives Worth Living” and local heroes involved in the Disability Rights movement sharing their stories.

“This was a community building event and I appreciate all of our hard work together to create this community,” CEO of The Independence Center, Patricia Yeager said.
“Lives Worth Living,” which depicts the history of the Disability Rights Movement to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was screened at the event. Following the inspirational film, some participants involved in the movement shared their stories.
“During the movie, you could hear a pin drop,” Yeager said. “I think maybe people did not realize what a recent and rich history we have across the country.  We are not alone!”
While the silent auction was successful, the movie and speakers stole the show. The speakers, all local participants in the Disability Rights Movement, shared their experiences and struggles during the time the ADA was being fought for. Anita Pope, one of the speakers of the night, shared her thoughts on how the event went.
“I think it was really good for people to see this movie, because the people that are out in the community now that have access that wasn’t available back then. Especially younger people know, they have no idea what it was like and they are enjoying the fruits of those people’s labors. I tell my kids stories all the time and they can’t believe how much has changed,” Pope said.
The three speakers highlighted experiences shared in the film. Matthew Ruggles recounted walking in the Deaf President Now Marches and the power of seeing someone who was Deaf elected to lead Gallaudet University. Pope commented on ADAPT’s work in Colorado Springs and in larger marches in San Francisco. Billy Allen, who is the 504 Coordinator for Memorial Health System, spoke about what still needs to be done within the ADA to make it truly benefit people with disabilities.
“It’s really good for people to see the hard work that the disability community had to go through to make things as good as they are right now. It might not be perfect, but it’s so much better,” Pope said.

ADA Celebration

This ADA Celebration will include a silent auction with items donated from around the community, a screening of the PBS documentary “Lives Worth Living” and participants involved in the Disability Rights movement will be speaking.

“Our ADA Celebration provides people a unique opportunity to not only learn more about the Disability Rights Movement, but also to learn more about how people in our community were a part of it,” said Amanda Lunday, Communications Manager for The Independence Center.
“Lives Worth Living,” which depicts the history of the Disability Rights Movement to the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be screened following the silent auction. Following the inspirational film, some participants involved in the movement share their stories. Speakers will include Anita Pope, Billy Allen and Matthew Ruggles.
“I don’t think people realize that residents of Colorado Springs were at the protests in San Francisco or the marches in DC. People with disabilities in our community fought for equality, for the basic rights that many of us take for granted. The Springs has a rich history within the Disability Rights Movement and we hope this free and educational event invites people to experience a part of our history we don’t often discuss,” said Lunday.
The silent auction portion of the evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. and include items such as a Kindle, a night at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, passes to local attractions, like the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, restaurant gift cards, and much more.
“We take so many things for granted now, things that took over a decade of blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish for the people of this country.  I see people with disabilities out in the community, participating in everyday life in ways that were impossible before the ADA,” said Anita Pope, Director of Nursing at The Independence Center.
The event will be from 6:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 25th at Stargazers Theatre, which is located at 10 S. Parkside Dr. Come join The Independence Center for this fun, free and educational event.