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


The IC’s ADA Celebration

The IC is celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act! This historic enactment has changed the lives of many Americans, allowing for better access and independence across the country. The Americans with Disabilities Act not only opened the door to greater opportunities, but also gave the nation a greater understanding and awareness concerning people with disabilities. We’re appreciative of all the support our sponsors and the community have given The IC so we can celebrate this anniversary on July 27, 2015 at Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs. We look forward to our continued work together so that every person in our community has the opportunity to live an independent life, shaped by their desires.  

THANK YOU To Our Sponsors

AT&T Relay Captioncall
Cascade Investment Group Central Bankcorp Insurance
Denver Management Advisors, Inc. Health South
Kelley Vivian Meeting the Challenge
Melat, Pressman and Higbie NAMI
Network Insurance Services Rocky Mountain Healthcare Services
The Arc United Healthcare
US Bank Yellow Cab


Disability Awareness Month Advocate Highlight: Justin Dart

Dart contracted polio as a child and was told he only had three days to live. Dart survived the ordeal and started using a wheelchair after. Dart attended the University of Houston from 1951 to 1954, earning his bachelors and masters degrees in political science and history. During his time in college, Dart organized his first human rights group  which was a pro-integration student group at what was then a whites-only institution.

Dart is best known for his work in passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 1988, he was appointed to chair the Congressional Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities. Dart argued the ADA was “the civil rights act of the future.” The ADA was signed into law on July 26, 1990, an anniversary that is celebrated each year by “disability pride” events all across the country.

“Beloved colleagues in struggle, listen to the heart of this old soldier.  Our lives, our children’s lives, the quality of the lives of billions in future generations hangs in the balance. I cry out to you from the depths of my being. Humanity needs you! Lead! Lead! Lead the revolution of empowerment,” Dart said.

Public Accommodation

Some places of public accommodation include restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, day care centers and public events like lectures or movies. Public accommodation allows all people with disabilities the opportunity to equally access public places and/or public information in a manner helpful to the individual.
Some examples include:

  • A building that has door openers on interior and exterior walls to allow easier door access for people who use wheelchairs or are guided by a service animal.
  • Hosting a workshop and accommodating a person with low vision by providing workshop material in a large font.  The person attending the class will need to describe the exact point size however many times 16 point or larger may be helpful.
  • Providing a certified interpreter for a person who is deaf.
  • Providing Braille markers on all bus stops in exactly the same place and height on the pole.

“I believe it is important that The Independence Center be one of the leaders in our community for providing reasonable accommodation, working with individuals to help make that happen, and showing other agencies what can be done,” Liz Hunter-Ball, Community Developer, contributed. “I also believe it is important to understand the needs of the individual because people with a similar disability may require greatly different accommodations. For example some individuals who have low vision may use Braille while another individual needs larger print of 24 point printed material.”
Yet, accommodation does not always mean the preferred method of communication. As the ADA points out instead of having to provide braille menus, price tags or exhibit information, employees can relay the information vocally. Businesses are not required to hire an interpreter, but can communicate with customers who are deaf via pen and paper.
In the end, reasonable accommodation in public places, as with employment and housing, is about communication and compromise. The person with the disability has the impetus put on them to not only communicate their disability and a reasonable accommodation, but to work with the other party to work out a reasonable solution. ADA law requires that barriers be removed if they are readily achievable meaning, “easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. (” While someone who is hard of hearing would prefer CART at a public presentation, reasonable accommodation might mean getting a copy of the speech at the event.
Reasonable accommodation should be made with as much forewarning as possible. If a person with a disability knows they are going to attend a lecture, they should notify the presenter as soon as possible. If a person who uses a wheelchair is going to be at your dinner, notify the hostess so they can ensure an accessible table is ready. Communication is the number one way to feel empowered and to empower others around the needs of people with disabilities.
Adaptive technology is another way for individuals to empower themselves. If you have low vision, purchase a magnifier to have in your purse when you go out. If you are Hard of Hearing purchase a pocket-talker or state your disability and ask the person speaking to look at you when they talk.
Public places have a responsibility to ensure equal access for all of their patrons, but needs and accommodation need to be expressed.
For more information on ADA requirements for accommodation go to: