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UAB to host Symposium on Disability Rights this month

Mikayla Burns



The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Institute for Human Rights and Center for Disability Health and Rehabilitation Science will team up with the Lakeshore Foundation on Feb. 21 and 22 to host the Symposium for Disability Rights.

The three groups join together to help those who are disabled know their rights, as well as focus on taking down social, economic and physical barriers that cause accessibility issues for the community. The symposium and its sponsors hope to help those who are disabled with adversity they face within both social and professional settings.

The symposium’s theme is “Disability Rights Are Human Rights.”

“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, 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 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.”

The symposium will include keynote speakers, such as Judy Heumann, American disability rights activist, and  John Kemp, American disability rights leader who co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Globally recognized human rights’ activist Victor Pineda will also speak at the symposium, along with 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, dean of the UAB College of Arts and Sciences. “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.”


UAB’s human rights’ and rehabilitation resources have allowed advanced access to research, technology and services for those who are disabled, Palazzo said.


The symposium will be held at the Hilton Birmingham on Feb. 21-22, 2019.





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