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POG Maryland Hosts ‘Civil Rights for All’ Conference

Civil rights of people with disabilities were at the forefront of the conversation at the People On the Go Maryland (POG) 2016 biennial conference, held in Baltimore on September 10, 2016.

In his keynote address, Aaron Bishop, commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities within the Administration for Community Living, recounted his family’s origins in the southern U.S. during the Jim Crow era and his family’s subsequent journey to Madison, Wisconsin. His “aha moment,” he said, took place when, as a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) trainee at the Waisman Center in 1998, he realized that the historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ostensibly ended segregation of school children based on race, did not extend to those with disabilities.

“I thought I knew a thing or two about civil rights,” Bishop said, but he did not realize that “kids with disabilities did not have the right to go to school with everybody else for another 19 years.” Until the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, children with disabilities were not entitled to attend school with their non-disabled peers. This realization led him to steer his career toward achieving civil rights for all.

POG, a partner of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute, is a statewide self-advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. MCDD is a proud supporter of POG and was a premier sponsor of its 2016 self-advocacy conference. 

MCDD Newsletter 2017: Issue One