What does an inclusive community look like?

That is one of the questions that people with and without disabilities are posing in Indiana this month.  March is Disability Awareness Month, and the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities is working to “increase awareness and promote independence, integration and inclusion of all people with disabilities.”  The theme for 2014 is Dream to Dare.  It features artwork fashioned from a poem that describes the “Community of Our Dreams” as one that “takes nothing special to meet special needs.”  Practically, this campaign points to considering smart growth as a part of community revitalization.

When asked how Indiana is leading states in responding to people with disabilities and smart growth, Executive Director of the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities, Suellen Jackson-Boner said, “People with disabilities are being valued in their local communities as resources and are contributing to the dialogue on developing Livable Communities.”  She continues, “Livable Communities offer a common ground to unite community members  with and without disabilities of all ages and ethnic background representing all economic strata, public and elected officials, health professionals, patrons of the arts, developers, planners, educators, etc.”  Visit this link to learn more about the council.

Hear from the CEO of The League for the Blind and Disabled on First News Sunday, March 16.  David Nelson will talk to Gina Glaros about raising awareness for people with disabilities and the American Disabilities Act.  First News Sunday is broadcast from 8 to 9a.m. on WANE-TV (15.1).

In northeast Indiana, the NE Indiana Disability Advocacy Coalition recommends that area residents can celebrate at a number of events planned in March for Disability Awareness Month.  See a custom listing within this story.  The full poem can be seen in a Public Service Announcement on WANE-TV (15.1) and Antenna TV (15.2) throughout the month.

What does the theme Dream to Dare mean?  “Dream to Dare is a call to action”, explains Jackson-Boner, “to bring out the best in us, to create a vision of the future which is inclusive, to be bold, and hold to the belief that working together we can make a difference in  creating a better life in our communities.”

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