Breaking Ground 101 - Introduction

by Wanda Willis, Executive Director, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities

This is a big year in the disability community.

  • Councils on Developmental Disabilities celebrate our 50th anniversary.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its 30th anniversary.
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation programs, which provide support for people with disabilities to work, celebrate their 100th anniversary.

Aside from these big milestones, this year offers important chances for people with disabilities to be counted and be heard. In this issue of Breaking Ground, you’ll read about the census and why it’s important for people with disabilities to take part. You’ll also read about work we’re helping fund to make sure voting places are accessible so people with disabilities can be heard in this year’s elections – and all elections to come.

We know that a quarter of the U.S. population has some type of disability. In Tennessee, about 108,000 people have developmental disabilities. Every one of us is connected to disability in some way, either personally or through someone we love.

The anniversaries we celebrate this year outline an arc of real change for people with disabilities. As a Council, we are looking to the next 50 years. We know that change happens when our community works together to be sure the voices of people with disabilities are present and heard: in every classroom, every community, and every room where decisions are made that affect their lives.

Join us this year. Be counted.  Be heard. Together, we are shaping the future for people with disabilities in Tennessee.

Wanda Willis
Executive Director