BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With the presidential election just weeks away, one group is trying to raise awareness. There are at least 35 million voting-age people with disabilities in the U.S. A handful of them took to the streets this weekend to make their voices heard.
The group will march roughly five miles a day, staying overnight in tents at local churches and fire department parking lots. They say their motto is “Feel the power.”
From Baltimore to D.C., ADAPT is marching state to state, making its voice heard — all for the power of the disability vote.
“People with disabilities are just like anyone else,” said Bong Delrosario, with the ADAPT group.
Roughly 30 people with disabilities–some from across the country–are in the midst of a three day march. It started at McKeldin Square, and has a heavy focus on the presidential election ahead.
“I think election is going to be close this year. I think everyone has a voice and the voice needs to be heard,” said Cheryl Gottlieb, suffers from cerebral palsy.
A reminder to the world that they, too, have a vote that matters.
“When you’re putting the polls out there, make sure it’s accessible for people with wheelchairs,” said Delrosario.
With a police escort, the group will march about 25 miles. Some of the participants will walk, but most will be in a wheelchair.
“The disability community is the third largest minority, and we’re the most ignored,” said Nikki Fletcher, participant.
Those participating range from wounded veterans to some suffering from mental illnesses.
Bong Delrosario suffers from a disease that doesn’t allow him to fully straighten his joints. He says even if nothing changes, the march is a movement in the right direction.
“People with disabilities have the same rights as everyone else and should be heard like everyone else,” he said.
The march will end on the National Mall come Sunday, with a rally featuring speakers, including Andrew J, Imparato, Association University Centers on Disabilities and Marc Maurer of the National Federation of the Blind.
According to statistics, 1 out of every 7 voting-age people suffer from a disability.