North County Inspiration: Celebrating 33 years of disability pride

Published: Jul. 24, 2023 at 7:23 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - At the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living, the creativity is flowing.

“I’m working on this beautiful little pot called a flowerpot,” NRCIL participant Nathon Carlton said.

Every week, people with disabilities are invited to come by the Stop-In Center.

“At Stop-In Center it’s about crafts, socialization, getting together, listening to music, doing something fun, and getting out into the community,” independent living advocate Skylar Hoke said.

It’s something Matt Allen and Nathan Carlton look forward to every Wednesday.

“It gets you motivated to do other things like coloring or going for a walk or chatting with your friends — all that good stuff,” Carlton said.

The group is preparing for a big anniversary. July 26th marks 33 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was signed into law. It fought for the rights and acceptance of people like Carlton and Allen.

“The ADA is the reason we have disability rights, it’s why we have accessible technologies, it’s why we have ramps, it’s the reason the community is accessible for everyone to enjoy,” Hoke said. “We honor that by going out into the community to show everybody our disability pride.”

ADA Day is only once a year, but NRCIL exemplifies the law’s values every day — in big ways or small ways like painting flowerpots together.

“It’s the best thing that ever happened in my life,” Carlton said. “I’ve been here for many years, I just love it here.”

So, look for NRCIL advocates on Wednesday as they celebrate the ADA.

“From NRCIL, this is Nathan Carlton, 7 News,” Carlton said.