Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities making a difference - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities making a difference

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Saturday, the Coalition for the Citizens with Disabilities held a picnic to gather together in a judgment-free environment, celebrating people with disabilities.

Benjamin and Mason Shrader are brothers with cerebral palsy.

"There's often a lot of staring, and people are confused about how to approach people with disabilities," said Benjamin. "So we figured the simplest way to end that is to just say 'Hi'." 

The brothers are joining in on a national movement by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation called "Just Say Hi", meant to explain how to approach a person with a disability.

"An entire family did a video together, and they got like super into it," Mason explained. "They were doing all sorts of puns about it."

This was the Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities second annual Family and Friends Picnic and over 200 people registered to come.

"This is an opportunity for them to come and enjoy a day of activities with no judgment, and be able to network, and find out about resources in the state that can help them," said Pam Dollar, Mississippi CCD Executive Director.

And these get-togethers can really make a difference.

Morgan King and Watson Dollar met through Coalitions for Citizens with Disabilities. 

"We met at a conference where Watson was a guest speaker," King said. "And I asked him if he liked Dr. Suess books, and he said 'yes', and I said 'Mama, we have something in common."

The CCD has been working for years to make sure Mississippi implements the American Disabilities Act.

"We're making slow progress," said Scott Crawford, a Board Member with the CCD. "Sometimes it takes a lot of arm-twisting. For instance, back in 2008, we had to sue just so that people like myself can get on our buses."

Benjamin and Mason's mother, Carol Shrader, is on the Board at the CCD as well.

"They face some really big roadblocks with wheelchair use and things like that," Carol said. "And the Board has been so wonderful in embracing us."

"I think we're all touched by it," said Benjamin. "You may not realize it at times, but I feel like the great majority of the country does have at least some connection to the disabled culture in America. One in five households have someone living with them with a disability." 

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