Next week, The Arc’s National Convention will kick off in Bellevue, Washington with more than 500 disability advocates, professionals, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) coming together to learn, forge connections, and energize the disability movement. The theme, Achieving Momentum, captures what The Arc is all about – empowering people with I/DD to achieve their dreams by continuously moving forward on issues that help them achieve independence and be included in society.
“The Arc’s convention is a once a year chance to bring our network of 700 chapters and their members and professionals together for a unique experience. This year, we have a wonderful array of sessions focused on family relationships, technology, and advocacy, and plenty of opportunities for attendees to learn from each other and have some fun,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.
This three day event, which will take place from August 3-5, will include:
- a keynote address by award-winning author Buzz Bissinger, whose recent book Father’s Day chronicles his relationship with son Zach, who has multiple disabilities;
- honoring Illinois Governor Pat Quinn with our Advocacy Matters award for his work to offer people with I/DD the opportunity to live in a community of their choice;
- a special visit via video by Andrew Jenks, creator of MTV’s World of Jenks, a documentary style show that features a young man with autism as he transitions from high school to the world of work, dating, and being an adult. Jenks is this year’s recipient of The Arc’s Image and Inclusion Award for positive portrayal of people with I/DD in the media;
- a technology emphasis with guest speakers from Verizon, a sponsor of this year’s convention, and Microsoft, and the opportunity for attendees to have a hands-on technology experience at the Microsoft store, in Bellevue Square Mall, during a private class just for attendees ; and
- Red Hot on the Red Carpet and The Arc & Sprout National Film Festival. We’re rolling out the red carpet again as a lead-in to our always popular film festival featuring shorts for, by and about people with I/DD.
“We are excited to serve as the local host committee for The Arc’s national convention. This marks the first time this national event has returned to our state since 1956. The Arc of Washington State is proud to have been instrumental in establishing the national organization over 60 years ago, and we look forward to many more years of growth and positive change that such a strong national partnership brings,” said Sue Elliott, Executive Director of The Arc of Washington State.