On June 12, at the Access Living Gala, Access Living presented Ambassador Luis Gallegos of Ecuador and Anne Roosevelt, the granddaughter of Franklin Deleno Roosevelt, with "Lead On" Awards for their leadership within the disability community.
Marca Bristo awards Ambassador Luis Gallegos with the "Lead On" Award for his leadership within the disability community.
As chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, Ambassador Gallegos played a critical role in the negotiations that led to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Gallegos spearheaded a years-long effort of incorporating the concerns of countries from around the world, negotiating through the disagreements between leaders, and developing a treaty that works for everyone.
The Convention went into force in May of 2008. The first human rights treaty of the 21st Century, the Convention prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services.
Jim Dickson, the Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the American Association of People with Disabilities, presented the “Lead On” Award to Roosevelt. Dixon worked closely with Roosevelt when he was a part of the National Organization on Disability. Several years ago, Roosevelt facilitated the charge to make sure her grandfather was depicted in a wheelchair at the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C. When it first opened in 1997, the Memorial covered many aspects of Roosevelt’s Presidency, but not at one point did it depict FDR in a wheelchair. The omission opened up a debate that challenged disability advocates, family members and the public. With Anne Roosevelt’s help, in January 2001, the National Park Service unveiled a new addition to the memorial, a sculpture at the beginning of the memorial depicting FDR in a wheelchair.
A tribute to Justin Dart, Jr., the disability rights movement’s most beloved leader, Access Living’s “Lead On” award honors individuals who promote the empowerment and independence of people with disabilities, and whose lives and actions embody the principles and values that Dart personified. As part of the awards ceremony, Access Living presented a video tribute to Dart near the time of his death. The video featured images of Dart while Max Starkloff of Paraquad read “I am with you! I love you! Lead On!,” a final message to the community from Dart, including the line, “I die in the beautiful belief that the revolution of empowerment will go on. I love you so much. I'm with you always. Lead on! Lead on!”
The “Lead On” Awards were the centerpiece of the 2008 Gala, Access Living's largest fundraiser of the year. Access Living raised more than $630,000. The proceeds support Access Living programs and services.
Many thanks to those who made the evening possible.
William Daley, Midwest Chairman of JP Morgan Chase, served as the 2008 Gala Chair. Evelyn Arkebauer and Access Living Board Member Todd Arkebauer served as the Community Co-Chairs. Channel 7’s Karen Meyer kicked off the evening as EmCee.