Honolulu Gov. David Y. Ige will declare March “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month” in Hawai‘i during the 21st annual “Day at the Capitol” on March 4, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s event will be entirely virtual via ZOOM and the theme is “Treat All People with Equal Rights. Respect All.”
Although the event cannot be live in this pandemic year, organizers anticipate about 300 virtual attendees from throughout the state–individuals, family members, service providers, friends and advocates. This special annual event builds awareness of the abilities and strengths of our Hawai‘i neighbors with developmental disabilities.
Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Hawai‘i is part of a national campaign to raise public awareness and build understanding. The Hawai‘i event is sponsored by the Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division and the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities which works to support residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“This year’s theme encourages people to understand that we all deserve to be respected; we all are equal. When we start recognizing our similarities, everyone benefits,” says Daintry Bartoldus, executive administrator of the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities. “We encourage people to learn more about individuals in Hawai‘i who have developmental disabilities and to recognize that everyone deserves respect to help make Hawai‘i a better place to live,” says Mary Brogan, DOH Developmental Disabilities Division Branch Chief.
Participants may sign up for this event through Eventbrite until Thursday, Feb. 18 at https://hawaii2021capitol.eventbrite.com
After Feb. 18, please RSVP via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to the Governor’s proclamation between 9:15-10 a.m., state legislators will recognize participants during House and Senate Floor sessions. Attendees will have the opportunity to discuss developmental disabilities-related issues and concerns with state legislators from their home districts, attend public hearings, take a virtual tour of the State Capitol, give testimony at a mock hearing, learn the legislative process through the Public Access Room and network with fellow attendees.
An estimated 22,600 people in Hawai‘i live with a developmental disability. The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic mental or physical impairment that restricts the ability to function and requires support services. A few examples include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism.
The annual “Day at the Capitol” is a collaborative venture coordinated by the Hawai‘i State Council on Developmental Disabilities in partnership with the Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division, the University of Hawai‘i Center on Disability Studies, Hawai‘i Disability Rights Center, Hawai‘i Self Advocacy Advisory Council, Disability and Communication Access Board, Special Parent and Information Network, Office of Language Access, the Hilopa‘a Family to Family Health Information Center, Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program, Department of Human Services Med-Quest Division, Office of Elections, Department of Education Community Children’s Council, and Hawai‘i State Department of Education Monitoring and Compliance Branch.