Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Friday is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and in Rochester, on Thursday many are coming together to create a better understanding of disability issues and show support.

This is the 5th year of the celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities event in Rochester.

The event is put on by the MaxAbility Taskforce, a group that supports hiring people with disabilities as well as the Disability Mayo Employee Resource Group.

Last year the event was virtual due to COVID, but this year it is hybrid.

They will hold a fireside chat with disability advocate, Judy Heumann as well as a talent show, art, and more.

"I think it is a great way to celebrate that people have all kinds of interests and abilities," said MaxAbility Marketing Chair, Shelly Rohe.

"It started about creating awareness and now I think people are aware of what people with disabilities can do and now we need to turn it into action items and make sure we have accessibility," said Mayo Clinic Diversity Recruitment Specialist, Dawn Kirchner.

Kirchner said more accessibility can be for things like physical or digital access.

She said celebrations like this shine a light on how important it is to include everyone, and Judy Heumann will help educate on the language we should be using.

"We are very familiar with person-first language and putting the person before the disability but then there is also identity-first language and if a person identifies as a disabled person that is okay too. So getting to know individuals is really important and their personal preferences," said Kirchner.

Rohe began working with people with disabilities in high school, but in 2013 her life changed.

She had a brain stem brain tumor rupture and had to have it removed.

It gave her neurologic and physical disabilities.

"I thought when I worked with people with disabilities that I got it, but I didn’t understand a lot. So when I had my own it really opened my eyes to some of the things that even I was doing and made me realize how incredibly gifted people can be still," said Rohe.

The event is hybrid this year. You can attend in person at The Castle or virtually.

To register for in-person attendance click here.

To register for virtual attendance click here.

Learn more about the event here.