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Lynn celebrates Americans with Disabilities

The Daily Item - 7/26/2022

Jul. 27—LYNN — The Lynn Disability Network held a celebration to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act outside City Hall Monday afternoon.

Lynn Disability Network Coordinator Louise Dominique invited passersby to the lawn outside City Hall for pizza, a bag of chips, and a conversation about ADA, a civil rights act passed in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush to prohibit discrimination against disabled individuals.

Dominique said that the legislation's anniversary, for disabled people, is akin to Independence Day for most Americans, as it is the day that people with disabilities were given legal rights to work and live.

"Today is like when we celebrated Independence Day three weeks ago, today is Independence Day for people with disabilities. Yes, we have come far, but we have far to go. Together we can do it, together, we can do more in this country. Especially in Massachusetts, and especially in Lynn, here, if we come together so we can do more and we can be happy, we can live in a happy city," Dominique said.

Before Mayor Jared Nicholson made the first cut into an American flag-shaped cake, he made a speech in which he recognized the Lynn Disability Network for their work expanding inclusivity and accessibility in the city.

"We're very excited for your leadership and for your partnership with the city. We have a top goal for our administration of being inclusive, of being a place where everybody can thrive, and an important part of inclusivity is recognizing folks with disabilities and doing our part to help them be able to participate and offer all that we know they have to offer to our neighborhoods, to our community, to our city," Nicholson said.

Nicholson also said that while the city celebrates ADA, it should continue its work to provide all residents with equal opportunities.

"Occasions like this to mark the progress that has been made over the years for milestones like the ADA are helpful to motivate us to continue to address those needs that still need work. We have plenty that we still have to do to realize that full potential of providing everyone the support they need to fully access the opportunities that we have in our city," he said.

Lynn Disability Network member Maria Riley mirrored Nicholson's remarks when she said that although issues of accessibility and disabled advocacy have improved over the years, a lot of work remains.

"The city has come far from since I was younger, but we're still looking for equality for everybody, everyone should be treated equally and fairly. It's come a long way, we're just looking to go a little bit further. We want people to be treated the same whether they're autistic or have types of disability," Riley said. "We're all the same, we just think differently, that's all."

The Lynn Disability Network is hoping to start a universal summer program next year, Riley said. She said that it's important to have a place in the community where all children, regardless of ability level, can play.

"We were trying to get a summer program going, but not too many people had come together or got involved, so we weren't able to get that program up and running. We didn't have enough people to sign up, but hopefully next year we're hoping to get a good summer program going for all children," Riley said. "There's children out there who can't do certain sports, but we still want to get everyone involved."

The city's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Faustina Cuevas said that in conversation about equity and diversity, disability is a factor that many people overlook.

"More often than not, we tend to leave people with disabilities out of diversity, equity, and inclusion conversation. It's important that we have people like Louise in our community who are able to elevate thinking about disability, thinking about people with disabilities in our city, and include that in the DEI conversation, so I'm really glad that she did this, and hopefully, we can continue to support her in the future," Cuevas said.

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at


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