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BAIN to celebrate ADA anniversary

Bainbridge Advocacy Individual Network (BAIN) Inc. Center For Independent Living will celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Saturday, July 25, with several activities.

Keynote speaker for the day will be Billy Simmons Jr., who has served as a Bainbridge Lions Club officer and had the 2008 Bainbridge High School Bearcats baseball program dedicated to him.

BAIN Director Virginia Harris, who has received the prestigious Natalie Norwood Tumlin Georgia Self Advocate of the Year Award, said the first activity of the day will be an ADA walk beginning at the Winn-Dixie parking lot. Walkers will begin arriving around 8 a.m. and the walk will get underway around 8:30 a.m.

The walk will proceed up Shotwell Street, turn onto Wheat Street and proceed to Bainbridge Middle School—formerly Bainbridge High School—on College Street where an ADA program will be held at the school cafeteria.

In addition to Simmons’ speech, the program will include a picnic and simulation sensitivity activities for individuals to participate in.

In 1998, the late Ms. Tumlin, for whom Harris’ award is named, and 100 of her fellow advocates gathered at the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta to kick off the Unlock the Waiting List campaign, a powerful coalition of disability organizations that focus on legislation and public policy that impacts the availability of vital community-based services for people with disabilities.

When Ms. Tumlin died in 2005, her parents, Beth and Bill Tumlin, established the Georgia Self Advocate of the Year Award in memory of her to recognize the contributions of individuals with disabilities who, like Harris and their daughter, have demonstrated masterful advocacy efforts that have consistently made a difference in Georgia.

Harris is the fourth to receive the Tumlin Georgia Self-Advocate of the Year Award following Shepherd Center Director of Advocacy Mark Johnson of Alpharetta in 2005, State Independent Living Council Executive Director Patricia Puckett of Decatur in 2007, and Governors Council On Developmental Disabilities Advocacy Director Kate Gainer of Atlanta in 2008.

Harris and her BAIN staff invite the public to come out on July 25 and show their support for people with disabilities.