National NOW Times >> Fall 2003 >> Article
Women with Disabilities and Allies Link Arms at Forum
by Kim Burrow, Communications Intern
Women living with and without disabilities share many of the same concerns and challenges. As they follow their dreams, barriers can include limited access to employment, education, financial security and medical services.
NOW and the NOW Foundation are dedicated to creating a world where all women, disabled or not, are valued, respected and encouraged to realize their full potential. To further this goal, the NOW Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) decided to co-sponsor "Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum: Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All" in Bethesda, Md., Oct. 17-19, 2003.
The NOW Foundation and the AAPD have worked to identify and bring together a diverse group of women from across the countryboth activists and advocatesto discuss a broad range of issues, share ideas, give support and forge an alliance committed to creating a more just and equal world.
"All women share the dream of full equality, economic and personal independence, educational and employment opportunity, reproductive freedom and full participation in society," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "Women living with disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination, making it even harder to achieve their goals. Breaking downhese barriers is a longstanding priority of NOW and the NOW Foundation, and we are thrilled to work with AAPD on this important issue."
The AAPD is the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, promoting the economic and political empowerment of all 56 million children and adults with disabilities in the United States. It was founded in 1995 to help unite people with disabilities, their families, friends and supporters, and be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
"This forum crosses the boundaries of sexism and ableism as we work together on mutual concerns," said Stephanie Ortoleva, co-chair of NOW's Disability Rights committee.
A reception and entertainment on Friday evening launches the forum at the Hyatt Hotel in Bethesda, Maryland. Saturday and Sunday feature plenary sessions, workshops and panel discussions. The topics on the forum agenda include:
"Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum: Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All" provides a unique opportunity for activists and newcomers to motivate, teach and inspire each other in a supportive setting.
For more information on the Forum, go to www.nowfoundation.org/forum.
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