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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Treating people with disabilities with dignity: Saratogian staffers recognized by NYSARC

Two Saratogian staffers, reporter Suzanna Lourie and photographer Erica Miller, are among journalists statewide who will be honored Friday at a gathering of NYSARC. I'm so proud to have The Saratogian recognized by this group.
NYSARC describes itself as "a family-based organization working with and for people who have intellectual and other developmental disabilities."
That is a wordy but more accurate description of an organization that, when established in 1949, was commonly known at the Association for Retarded Children, and then retarded citizens. They have successfully purged "mentally retarded" from their lingo because of its negative and inaccurate connotations. And they are fighting a winning battle to raise community consciousness about how to thoughtfully and accurately refer to people with disabilities.
An abbreviated version of NYSARC's mission is "to improve the quality of life for people who have intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families in every manner possible, including but not limited to: education, training, rehabilitation, family support, recreation and guardianship."
The statewide organization has annual media awards to recognize photographers and print and broadcast stories that further the goal of "awareness through communication."
County branches of the organization submit local work for the judging. The winners are invited to an awards luncheon that is part of NYSARC's annual convention. I'll be joining Erica and Suzanna. Their work, as well as many others submitted statewide, are examples of how the media can and should inform the public and while treating people with disabilities with dignity.


Anonymous Pamela Polacsek said...

Thank you for your wonderfully eloquent blog! Saratoga Bridges congratulates Suzanna for her wonderful article and to Erica Miller for her fabulous photo which appeared in The Saratogian in February.

The article and accompanied photo positively impacts our agency and the work we do to support one of our individuals, Joe, and his peers in our Community Opportunities Program. It features what Joe’s days consist of -- his favorite volunteer endeavor at the Saratoga County Animal Shelter, a paid custodial position at the Ballston Spa Public Library, participation in art classes and playing basketball at the YMCA.

As a result, the information raised awareness that people with disabilities share similar dreams, interests, aspirations and goals which lead to full, productive and contributing lives.

We are grateful for the relationship we have with The Saratogian and look forward to many, many years of working together to educate and inform our community that for, us every day is full of possibilities!

October 20, 2011 at 2:21 PM 

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