Vecova was one of five Canadian groups invited to tour the United States to share perspectives on disability issues and inclusion.
The trip was organized by the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). The 5-day tour included stops in Washington D.C.; Buffalo, New York; and Boston, Massachusetts. At each stop invitees visited successful organizations, advocacy groups, and government officials who are raising awareness and ensuring inclusiveness in all aspects of daily life, including education, transportation, employment, and community living.
“The intent was to meet with a broad selection of Americans who are responsible for improving the quality of lives for persons with disabilities, and for us to learn from their experiences,” said Vecova representative Curtis Slater. “It was also an opportunity to share our own experiences from a Canadian perspective, and to make connections with our American colleagues.”
2015 also marks the 25th anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, which is an important piece of U.S. civil rights legislation. The act prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities to participate in American life, including employment opportunities, purchasing goods and services, and to participate in State and local government programs and services.
“We met with some incredibly passionate and hardworking individuals who were able to look beyond their own disabilities to ensure others with disabilities had equal rights and access to services,” said Curtis.
As part of the exchange, Vecova was able to share resources from our Research Services’ self-advocacy program “It’s my History Too”. Many U.S. groups expressed interest in using the facilitator’s guide and workbooks in their own agencies, as an example of how to inform persons with disabilities of their rights.
Learn more about Vecova’s It’s my History Too project and access the facilitator’s guide.