FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Coconino Community College is hosting the Life, Liberty and Independence Expo from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at the College's Lone Tree campus, 2800 S. Lone Tree Road, Flagstaff. Persons with a disability may request reasonable accommodations by contacting 928-226-4243.
Explore the history of people with disabilities, learn about famous people with disabilities and hear about services available at CCC and Northern Arizona University. You'll also hear Hazel Kimball's story of the fight to bring disability rights into the American spotlight in the 1970s.
Kimball joined the disability rights movement in San Francisco in the 1970s. Kimball, who now lives in Flagstaff and is a CCC student, was part of a nationwide sit-in in 1977 of federal buildings designed to bring attention to the signing of federal regulations that said people with disabilities could not be discriminated against because of a disability.
"It wasn't so long ago that people with disabilities could not go into a public building," Kimball said. "There were no wheelchair ramps at post office and libraries. Public buildings were not accessible to us."
Kimball spent many years in and out of wheelchairs after a car accident. On April 5, 1977 activists took over the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare buildings in 10 cities to protest the unsigned regulations. "Blind people, paraplegics, quadriplegics, no one expected us to do something like this," Kimball said. "We were completely underestimated."
The activists spent 25 nights in the federal building. The peaceful protest led to the enforcement of the regulations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and remained the most important piece of disability rights legislation until the 1990 signed of the Americans with Disabilities Act.