Archived Press Releases

Rain Keeps No One Away - 2,000 Rally at the Capitol Disability Day Registers Many Voters, Spotlights Global Technology Development

Rain Keeps No One Away - 2,000 Rally at the Capitol Disability Day Registers Many Voters, Spotlights Global Technology Development

ATLANTA, GA (Feb. 26, 2008) – Despite a chilly and constant rain, 2,000 Georgians poured from the Capitol into Washington Street and to the Freight Depot last Thursday to raise awareness among legislators and the public about issues which impact the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  The “My Vote is for Real” Disability Day Rally secured 473 new voters throughout the day-long celebration, almost 25% of those in attendance.  “Unlock the Waiting List” was the primary chant, but those in attendance also called attention to a global initiative for new accessible technology standards to improve the lives of real people.

“Our resolve to make the rights of all a reality from Atlanta to the smallest rural village in our world … presents us with a daunting challenge in this ever-changing world,” Ecuador’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Luis Gallegos, said.  His keynote was a focal point of the 10th Annual Disability Day at the Capitol sponsored by the Governor’s Council On Developmental Disabilities (GCDD).  The Ambassador chairs the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information Communication Technologies (G3ICT), the new, flagship initiative of Atlanta-based United National Global Alliance for Technology and Development.

The organization seeks to implement a “universal language as a living document,” accounting for the changing nature of disability and how it inevitably affects every individual’s life and every society.  G3ICT proposes the use of technology to realize the human rights of all persons – with or without disabilities – globally, in both developed and developing countries. 

“Today, Atlanta was reminded of the world-wide need for increased disability advocacy.  Even with the unfortunate weather, we had a record event turnout with 2,000 people from all over the state,” GCDD’s Chair Tom Seegmueller said.  “This just proves the urgency and vital import of delivering our message to Georgia’s legislators, our nation and the world.”

Legislators key to Disability Day included Representatives Judy Manning (R-Dist. 32) and Earl Ehrhart (R-Dist. 36) and Speaker Glen Richardson, who were all instrumental in passing HR 1424, a resolution which welcomed Ambassador Gallegos who addressed the House earlier that morning.  Additionally, many legislators participated in the day’s activities, including Representatives Roger Bruce (D-Dist. 64), Doug Collins (R-Dist. 27), Ben Harbin (R-Dist. 118), Mark Butler (R-Dist. 18) and Dan Moody (R-Dist. 56).  Participating senators included Gloria Butler (D-Dist 55) and Ronald Ramsey (D-Dist. 43).

Georgia is one of only 14 states with a Disability Vote! Project, an initiative which seeks to expand involvement of people with disabilities across all levels of the election process.  Jim Dickson, VP of government affairs for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), leads the national Disability Vote! Project and gave the closing address at Thursday’s rally, encouraging all persons in attendance to realize “My Vote is for Real.”

“We made voting everyone’s priority today and we created a surge of new voters.  We are elated that 473 people registered.  It is becoming clear that people with disabilities can make a difference,” said Cheri Mitchell who coordinated Disability Day voter registration for People First of Georgia.

Among GCDD’s list of public policy priorities are the Unlock the Waiting Lists! Campaign which calls for funding of community based services for nearly 7,000 persons on waiting lists for vital supports and Money Follows the Person (MFP) which seeks to allow people to leave state and private institutions and nursing homes to move into the community with the necessary services.

A Developmental Disability is a severe, chronic mental and/or physical disability that occurs before age 22 and is expected to last a lifetime.  It limits a person in three or more of the following life activities: self-care, language, learning, mobility, self-direction, independent living and economic self-sufficiency.

GCDD is a federally-funded state agency charged with creating systems for change for people with developmental disabilities and their families, with a goal to increase independence, inclusion, integration, self-determination and productivity through activities such as public policy research and analysis, project demonstrations, advocacy and public information.  Visit for more information.