FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 7/20/23
For further information, contact:
Susan Scully Petroni
City of Framingham Public Information Officer
Framingham To Raise Disability Flag for First-Time on Anniversary of Americans With Disability Act
FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham will raise the Framingham Disability Flag for the first time on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.
The flag was designed by Framingham resident Rob Levine. It was commissioned by the Framingham Disability Commission in 2022 to honor the late co-founder of the Framingham Disability Commission Karen Foran Dempsey. The City renamed the ballroom in Historic Village Hall after her in July of 2022.
The flag is blue, green, and white and highlights multiple experiences of disability – neurodivergence, mobility impairments, deaf/hard of hearing, visual impairments, etc. The flag displays the words Disability, Rights, & Human.
“They are one in the same. Disability rights are human rights,” said Framingham Disability Commission Vice Chair Meghan Todd.
This is the first time the City will raise the Framingham disability flag at the Memorial Building. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. It is expected to last more than an hour.
Spectrum of Sound from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism will perform the National Anthem. The choir is comprised of autism self-advocates.
Scheduled to speak are City of Framingham Mayor Charlie Sisitsky, Senate President Karen Spilka, State Representative Denise Garlick, who is the chair of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Persons With Disabilities, School Committee Chair Rep. Priscila Sousa, At-Large City Councilor Janet Leombruno, and Disability Commission member Tyler Terrasi.
The Learning Center For The Deaf in Framingham is providing American Sign Language interpretation, said Framingham Disability Commission Chair Sheryl Goldstein.
“The flag to me is about raising awareness that access is a civil right,” said Disability Commission Vice Chair Todd.
“Disability is the only minority group that anybody can be a part of at any time in their lifetime,” said Goldstein. “And nobody really thinks about disability unless it affects them or a family member.”
“It is important for every child and adult with a disability to feel equal and independent in their community,” said Mayor Sisitsky. “It is paramount to recognize the 33rd anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which provides accessibility to all. It is my goal to address issues and make public accommodations for all of Framingham’s residents with disabilities.”
Since becoming a City, Framingham has established an Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator position, which works with the Disability Commission and City departments.
“As a City, we need to be cognizant, about the differences in people, as we grow and change,” said Goldstein.
“We are presented with this opportunity on the 33rd anniversary of ADA Day. It gives us an opportunity to talk about disability and how it impacts our local community,” said Commission Vice Chair Todd.
“I hope people walk away from the event and know we are working really hard to get things done,” said Goldstein.
“I hope this event is a conversation starter. We want to raise awareness,” said Todd. “We are introducing this topic of disability to people who perhaps are not aware it is an issue and re-enforcing our message to those who are aware and our supporters.”
“It is really important that we have representation in our government,” said Goldstein.
The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) will provide beverages and cookies.
The Memorial Building will be lit in the following colors: blue, green, and white from July 26 through August 2.