Paraquad has a history of more than 45 years of being a part of the St. Louis community, pushing for the rights of people with disabilities not only in this region but nationally and even internationally.
When I came to work at Paraquad in 2011, that’s the legacy that I wanted to be a part of — a legacy of barrier-crushing innovation supporting the gifts and talents of people with disabilities, to empower them to bring those gifts and talents to bear in their community and live out the independent living philosophy. The legacy of independent living and the movement to update its meaning to address modern common issues and strengthening the independent living philosophy for today’s world is alive and well at Paraquad.
The Public Policy and Advocacy Department has been supporting the growth of a coalition of advocates from around the greater St. Louis area. The Coalition for Truth in Independence is presently made up of nine community groups, each with their own identity. But the groups have a common mission to create an “equal playing field” for people with disabilities by breaking down barriers to social, political and physical justice in the community in which they live. The individual community groups work to deal with issues that can be addressed in their neighborhood or local area.
Leadership from these groups gets together once a month to plan as a steering committee one “project” that will address an issue or break down a barrier for the greater St. Louis area as a whole. The Public Policy and Advocacy Department gives support through training and tactical guidance in partnership with the coalition. The goals of the coalition are not dictated by Paraquad but in relationship with Paraquad. Therefore, all parties are partners on the front lines of pushing disability rights as human rights forward.
Paraquad’s relationship with the Coalition for Truth in Independence is just one example of how our organization is reaching out into the community in new and innovative ways to spread the mission we were founded to proclaim. To become further involved with Paraquad and the coalition we support, please contact Paraquad community organizer Janá Thomas at email@example.com.
Christopher Worth is the Organizing Team Manager at Paraquad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.