CHICAGO (July 24, 2009)—Today, Chicago 2016 announced its participation in the 6th Annual Disability Pride Parade in Chicago taking place Saturday, July 25. Representatives and volunteers from the bid committee, as well as Paralympic athletes, will ride in the parade and Chicago 2016 will host a booth at the post-parade rally at Daley Plaza. The parade kicks-off at 11 AM at Plymouth and Van Buren Streets and will proceed north on Dearborn Street to Daley Plaza. This year’s parade will be led by Grand Marshal Amber Smock, the youth leadership coordinator for Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago.

Paralympians Linda Mastandrea and Lindsey Carmichael will ride the Chicago 2016 float and will be part of the festivities at the Chicago 2016 booth during the rally. Mastandrea, who is also director of Paralympic sport and accessibility for Chicago 2016, is attending the White House signing of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities today in Washington, D.C.

Last year, the United States Congress passed a resolution setting a nationwide Disability Pride Day and making this an annual event celebrating the pride, the power and the potential of people with disabilities.

In 2007, Chicago was named one of America’s most disability-friendly cities by the National Organization on Disability. According to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, more than 600,000 people with disabilities live and work in the city.

“Chicago is a leader in accessibility and we are proud to be part of the Disability Pride Parade,” said Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016. “Our goal is to demonstrate that the Chicago 2016 Games plan is two events but one games, Olympian and Paralympian side by side.”

Chicago 2016 celebrated International Paralympic Day earlier this month with both the local and world communities. A delegation traveled to Berlin, Germany to participate in the international celebration, and a group of Paralympic athletes participated in sport activities at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) youth camp to mark the day.

This year’s parade is dedicated to the memory Dan Van Hecke, a former parade organizer and disability advocate. Van Hecke founded Chicago’s accessible taxi program and was the first driver to be awarded the City of Chicago Master Chauffer award for his service to people with disabilities.

About Chicago 2016
Chicago 2016 is a 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to seek the privilege of hosting the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Chicago. The committee’s board consists of business, civic, athletic, cultural and academic leaders representing Chicago and the surrounding Midwest region. Patrick Ryan serves as the organization’s chairman and CEO.


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