Institute and Partners Honored by AAIDD
In June 2019, the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium was honored with the Hervey B. Wilbur Historic Preservation Award for leading the effort to collect, preserve and disseminate the history of struggle for equality by people with disabilities in western Pennsylvania.
The Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, along with its partners ACHIEVA and the Senator John Heinz History Center, established The Consortium in 2015 to honor this historic fight of people with disabilities and to educate all citizens about full inclusion.
The award was given by the American Association on Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) during its 143rd annual meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 24. The Consortium was represented at the ceremony by the Institute's western coordinator Guy Caruso.
Recognizing the struggle for equality and inclusion of people with disabilities as part of the nation's collective history is relatively recent, The Consortium works to document the dramatic changes that have occurred over the past 70 years. Its website is a repository for historic collections and resources that document the experiences of people with disabilities in western Pennsylvania. They continue to actively seek out relevant local historic collections and to record oral histories of significant people who have had an impact on this struggle for inclusion.
The Consortium has also led the effort to tell the story of the Polk Center in Polk, Pennsylvania which was one of the most populated institutions in the country. During the three years since its inception, The Consortium has established a network for connecting western Pennsylvania's disability rights history to our national story and in doing so, has increased understanding among all citizens, including policy makers, regarding the past, and continuing, struggle for equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.
In the photo, the Institute's Western Coordinator accepts the award, representing the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium.