UAB Institute for Human Rights to host Disability Rights symposium Feb. 21-22

The quest for improving the rights of people with disabilities locally, nationally and internationally is urgent and significant.

SymposiumJoomlaThe University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Institute for Human Rights, Center for Disability Health and Rehabilitation Science, and the Lakeshore Foundation will host the Symposium on Disability Rights on Feb. 21-22. The symposium, themed “Disability Rights Are Human Rights,” will be held at the Hilton Birmingham, located at 800 20th St. S., Birmingham, AL 35205.

The symposium will address the rights and needs of the disability community. These include the removal of social, economic and environmental barriers that limit accessibility to basic services. These barriers prevent people with disabilities from participating fully in their communities, gaining access to a quality education and achieving employment.

“We want to bring together people with different backgrounds, experiences and ideas for action to talk about disability rights as human rights,” said Tina Reuter, Ph.D., director of UAB’s Institute for Human Rights and associate professor for UAB’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration and Department of Anthropology.

“We are very excited to have presenters from Alabama, from around the United States and from international locations discussing different aspects of disability rights promotion and implementation. We hope this symposium will be a start for a broader discussion on the human rights of persons with disabilities and serve as an incubator for innovation in inclusion and access for all.”

Keynote speakers include Judy Heumann, American disability rights activist; John D. Kemp, American disability rights leader who co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities and President/CEO of The Viscardi Center; Dr. Victor Pineda, globally recognized human rights activist; and Keller Thompson, director of Education for the Helen Keller Eye Research Foundation.

“The Symposium on Disability Rights is intended to raise awareness of modern issues related to the rights of the disabled and bring together significant resources to foster future collaboration,” said Robert Palazzo, Ph.D., dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences.

“With UAB’s tremendous resources in health care, rehabilitation and human rights — along with the care and facilities at the Lakeshore Foundation — the Birmingham metropolitan area is blessed with extraordinary infrastructure and expertise that can be applied to advance access to technology, treatment, social assistance and, importantly, research to advance our understanding of disabilities by increasing knowledge and advancing services. I am confident that, as a result of the personal exchanges this symposium will foster, we will be able to develop novel programs and pursue new avenues of research that will advance our common cause.”

The symposium is sponsored by UAB College of Arts and Sciences, UAB School of Health Professions, UAB Disability Support Services, the Institute on Disability and Public Policy, the Alabama Governor’s Office on Disability, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the United Ability, and The Viscardi Center.