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Not an awareness day; state legislature honors advocacy achievements of Tennesseeans with disabilities

Not an awareness day; state legislature honors advocacy achievements of Tennesseeans with disabilities

The 112th General Assembly will proclaim March 11th 2021, “Disability Advocacy Day” in Tennessee, the Tennessee Disability Coalition (TDC), an alliance of over 40 member organizations and individuals advocating for Tennesseans with disabilities announced today. Joint House Resolution 188, introduced by Representative Sam Whitson of District 65, Franklin, honors “the importance of advocacy in the lives of Tennesseans with disabilities and in improving access to equal opportunities across the state of Tennessee.”

Tennesseans with disabilities experience disparate access to the same basic education, housing, transportation, and healthcare as state residents without disability. Outside of a pandemic, self and collective advocacy is critical to ensuring access to essential supports and services. Amid the pandemic, with procedures and policies in constant flux, and state COVID-19 deaths eclipsing 11,000, Tennesseans with disabilities continue to use their voices to speak up for basic services, and speak out against policies that infringe on civil rights and other legal protections. Consequently, this often-marginalized and overlooked community has made a formidable impact on state policy. For a comprehensive list of achievements including the Tennessee Disability Act, the Katie Beckett Program, and many more, please visit

“People with disabilities learn very early that advocacy is the only way to tackle the barriers they face in an ‘able’ world,” said Tennessee Disability Coalition Executive Director, Carol Westlake. “We learned decades ago that we have to build community, work together, and be clear about what’s needed. It takes advocacy to achieve the basic level of access, inclusion, and support that others take for granted. We have to stand up, speak up and follow up. And we have to stick together. When COVID-19 hit, we knew the stakes. We knew the importance of the moment, and the disability community rallied. It’s humbling to see the 112th General Assembly recognize the importance of the disability community and our contributions to the state of Tennessee. We’re so grateful to the dozens of landmarks across the state lighting up blue to support Disability Advocacy Day on March 11th.”

21 landmarks across West, Middle and East Tenn. Lighting up “Coalition Blue” in support, solidarity, and recognition of successful advocacy by the disability community of Tenn.

West TN:
Bass Pro Pyramid – Memphis
Big River Crossing – Memphis
Carl Perkins Civic Center – Jackson
City Hall – Jackson
Eiffel Tower Replica – Paris
Hernando DeSoto Bridge – Memphis
Liberty Bowl Stadium – Memphis2
Middle TN:
Adventure Science Center Pyramid – Nashville
Ascend Amphitheatre – Nashville
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park – Nashville
City Hall – Nashville
State Capital Cupola – Nashville
Customs House Museum & Cultural Center – Clarksville
Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge – Nashville
Nissan Stadium – Nashville
The Parthenon – Nashville
RJ Corman Railroad Bridge – Clarksville
East TN:
Dollywood, War Eagle – Pigeon Forge
Henley Street Pedestrian Bridge – Knoxville
Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga
University of Tennessee – Knoxville

For organizations without lighting capacities, or to support Disability Advocacy Day as an individual, there is a digital library of graphics, messaging, associated hashtags, and other resources available on the Tennessee Disability Coalition’s website. Graphics include pre-sized social images for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It also includes pre-sized wallpaper graphics for iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices for individual supporters to “light up” in support, and spark conversation.

About the Tennessee Disability Coalition: The Tennessee Disability Coalition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit alliance of over 40 member organizations and individuals joined to promote the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in all aspects of life. With programs, public policy, and purpose we collectively advocate for self-determination, independence,
empowerment, and inclusion for people with disabilities in areas such as accessibility, education, healthcare, housing, and voting rights. For more information about the Tennessee Disability Coalition, please visit, email, or call (615) 927-3694