Freedom Center Gets Disability Rights Award

Submitted by admin on Tue, 10/19/2004 - 00:01

Freedom Center gets
Disability Rights Award


Posted on Oct 19, 04

Oryx Cohen and Will Hall, Freedom Center co-founders, have been awarded the 2004 Martineau Access Award by Stavros!

The award, named after long-time Montague resident and Stavros Board President Ted Martineau, is given each year to recognize advocacy work for greater community access for people with disabilities. Nominees are suggested by persons with disabilities from the community. Stavros President Jim Kruidenier explained that the award was for getting the Freedom Center started and keeping it going.

“Oyrx Cohen and Will Hall have done remarkable work with the Freedom Center in Northampton,” said Janet Shaw, Director of Independent Living Services at Stavros. “Their commitment to self-determination for persons with disabilities is inspiring for all of us, and the work of everyone at the Freedom Center is achieving well-deserved national recognition,” Shaw continued.

Stavros Center for Independent Living, a member agency of the United Way of Franklin County, serves more than 4,000 persons with disabilities each year in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties. Stavros and the Independent Living Centers movement was started as part of the disability rights effort to get people out of institutional settings and empowered to live freely in the community.

At the luncheon award ceremony and celebration Wednesday, October 20 in Chicopee, MA, Oryx and Will emphasized that their personal efforts would not be possible without the postive response from the community and the active involvement of Freedom Center volunteers and organizers over the years.

"Freedom Center was a group that was waiting to happen," said Will Hall. "People labeled with severe mental illnesses need a place of our own, a place that is truly survivor-run. As soon as we started putting out the word, it was clear the interest was there, and we have grown ever since."

Read the page A3 story in the Dec. 17, 2004 issue of the Hamsphire Daily Gazette.

Download the press release from Stavros. For more info, contact Stavros at (413) 256-0473.

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