Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sun Sounds director receives award

Bill Pasco, Director of Sun Sounds of Arizona, received the 2008 Americans with Disabilities (ADA) “Liberty Accessibility Advocate” award from the Arizona Disability Advocacy Coalition (AZDAC) on July 25 at a celebration at the Arizona State Capitol in honor of the 18th anniversary of the ADA. Amina Kruck, AZDAC Chair, presented the award and thanked Pasco.

“The Liberty Accessibility Advocate award honors a community member who advocates for equal access for people with disabilities. We recognize Bill Pasco for his active involvement and broad work in promoting accessibility in our state,” Kruck said. At the event Gov. Janet Napolitano delivered the keynote address, stating, "the ADA is more than widening doorways or adding ramps. It’s about where those doorways and ramps lead.

"It’s meant to assure quality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency," Napolitano added. "Doorways and ramps are important, but only insofar as they lead to other things.” In accepting the Liberty Accessibility Advocate Award Pasco noted the importance of information access as the key to learning.

“It was not that long ago people with disabilities didn't have the civil rights guarantees of the ADA. Why? Because they did not have access to information, the basis of education and all other forms of learning,” Pasco said. “Some people may believe that the ADA made information access possible. On the contrary, it was access to information that made the ADA possible.

"Information is the companion of thought, more powerful than military force, and the parent of personal freedom," he said. "Of course, if one doesn't have access to that information it's all for not, so it is critical as we go forward to make sure ADA guarantees of access not view information access as a less important afterthought."

Sun Sounds of Arizona, established in 1979, is a radio reading and information service for individuals who are blind or living with a disability that make it difficult or impossible to read print. It is a community outreach service with more than 500 volunteers, and is part of Rio Salado College and KJZZ with affiliate stations located in Flagstaff and Tucson. For eligible persons, Sun Sounds of Arizona is available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using special radios, designated cable systems, telephone and the internet.