Topeka, KS - At Disability Rights Center of Kansas' 30th Anniversary Celebration event, nationally-known speaker Bernard Carabello told his story of how he was incorrectly warehoused in the institution called Willowbrook, and how the outcry caused Congress to create protection and advocacy groups like DRC Kansas.
Bernard was featured in the critically-acclaimed City Lights Pictures documentary "Unforgotten."
Bernard also became nationally known as a self-advocate for speaking out about the disgrace of institutions.
"Before heroes like Bernard Carabello and Dr. Mike Wilkins spoke out, Willowbrook was just another institution in New York," Rocky Nichols, Executive Director of DRC Kansas said, "but the media exposure caused Congress to create groups like DRC Kansas in every state to protect the rights of people with disabilities. On our 30th anniversary, we are looking back on the historic event that helped create our organization and looking forward to making new history with the Legislative bills."
The title of the event was "Key's of Change: Past, Present & Future." Kansas families, providers and people with disabilities will also provide information about several important proposals before the Kansas Legislature to dramatically improve services for Kansans with disabilities. These include HB 2761, which would eliminate all waiting lists for community-based services, the mental health parity bill, and bills to expand community capacity through better pay for direct-care workers.
Other speakers included: Dr. Mike Wilkins; Mike Oxford, DRC Board member, Kansas ADAPT and TILRC; Ron Pasmore, KETCH; Rick Cagan, NAMI Kansas; Bill Brooks; Sharon Bird, parent; and Kathy Lobb, Self-Advocate.