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Meeting to Focus on Breaking Down Barriers to Access

May 29, 2013

The Vermont Center for Independent Living is holding an ADA community meeting on June 13 to discuss barriers to access in Bennington.

The meeting will be from 4 to 6 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church at 200 Pleasant St. in Bennington.

This is an opportunity for people who have experienced barriers to access, or whose family members or friends have, to come together and share their stories. It is also an opportunity to learn how the Americans with Disabilities Act can be used to improve accessibility in the local community.

VCIL Executive Director Sarah Launderville said, “Twenty-three years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, VCIL still receives calls from upset Vermonters and disappointed vacationers who cannot access local places. We would like to reduce the chances of that happening in Bennington, and this ADA community meeting is another step toward this goal.”

She noted that some good work has gone on in Bennington to promote and address accessibility, and the community meeting will be a chance to check in on the progress that has been made.

Mary Gerisch, a Bennington resident who is extremely active in the community, said, “Everyone in our Bennington community must come together in making sure our neighbors have access to what they need to live with dignity. We never know when a friend, relative or neighbor has a hidden disability that threatens their dignity or independence.”

She added, “This kind of community meeting is essential. We can make Bennington a place where no one is excluded from living their life to the fullest.”

Community members with disabilities as well as stakeholders (including municipal employees, business owners and AARP members) are encouraged to attend. For more information or to RSVP, contact Charlie Murphy at cmurphy@vcil.org or 802-445-3015. To request an accommodation, please contact Murphy by June 10.