By Barbara Skarbowski
Chairwoman, Eastern PA Conference Disability Concerns Committee
At the Eastern PA Annual Conference, June 16-18, the Disability Concerns Committee will have a registration table to offer large-print materials and audio headsets for those who have expressed those needs. We have received a list of folks who would like to be seated in the end of an aisle, who use walkers or have mobility issues; so we will try to designate seats as “Reserved for Handicapped,” plus one companion. Of course, some committee members will be a part of the conference’s inclusiveness monitoring team.
The big news for the Disability Committee this year is its display in the exhibition area. Our 13-panel display will stretch about seven table lengths.
The display is provided by the Pennhurst Memorial & Preservation Alliance, which “promotes an understanding of the struggle for dignity and full civil rights for persons with disabilities, using the little known history of Pennhurst.” The vision of the Alliance is to eventually create the only Museum of Disability in Pennsylvania that catalogs the civil rights struggles of people with disabilities, as well as the history of the people of Pennhurst.
Since this institution was once located in our conference’s area, we, the Disability Concerns Committee feel it is worthwhile to educate our members about Pennhurst. We need to understand and honor the history of the people who lived there. And we should understand the civil rights struggle that took place literally ‘right next door’ to us, while most people were unaware.
The display will feature a kiosk where people can listen to the story and 13 panels that tell the story.