• Kristina Mulligan

Accessibility Awareness Day

Saturday, September 7th, was the 7th Annual Accessibility Awareness Day hosted by Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County. The Walkway Over the Hudson was bustling with like-minded people, all of us hoping to spread knowledge surrounding the need for recreational spaces for individuals with disabilities throughout the Hudson Valley. I walked away with a t-shirt, a tote bag, and a full heart spending yet another day that weekend feeling welcomed and being a part of a community like this.

There was a woman there, wearing a Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County shirt just like mine. She came over to us and asked Flynn how old he was, and I responded for him, which eased us in to a lengthy conversation. We chatted for a bit about our birthdays, how much fun the day was, and, of course, Spider-Man. Before we parted ways, I told her that I really liked the “I Love Unicorns” button pinned to her shirt, and she gave me the sweetest smile. For the rest of the afternoon, Flynn talked about Emma and her unicorn pin. He was thrilled to have made a new friend, and so was I.

We spent a little time on the Walkway, watching Flynn run between cones that were dividing the path into two lanes of traffic. He very much disobeyed the rules of the road, but people just smiled and let him walk between them and weaved around him when he decided to sit and take a break. It was like we were in a different place from the other times we'd brought him there, this place was understanding and kind. There weren't judgmental glances and uncomfortable stares. It's like they were proud of him for taking these steps, too, and I felt that we could just be.

We danced our little hearts out on the dance floor. We spoke to the kindest people, and shared smiles with those that we didn't have the chance to talk to. And before we left, I purchased an "I Love Unicorns" pin just like Emma's to remind myself that there are people in the world that are kind.

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