Department of Neighborhoods

Press Release

Department of Neighborhoods Kicks Off Disability Awareness Month
October Festivities Celebrate ADA's 25th Anniversary,
Highlight the Rights and Accomplishments of People with Disabilities

September 25, 2015 -- The Department of Neighborhoods kicked off Disability Awareness Month today at City Hall, featuring a formal program commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods and community partners, the kickoff promotes public participation in the citywide celebration of Disability Awareness Month set for October.  This year’s theme is “My disability is one part of who I am.”

The festivities opened with a cake-cutting ceremony followed by an address and the presentation of a City proclamation by Mayor Annise Parker.  The mayor also presented the first Lifetime Achievement Award to Lex Frieden, a distinguished advocate for the rights of people with disabilities who is recognized for his leadership as the “architect of the ADA.”

“Today we call on all Houstonians to join us in the celebration of the many contributions of people with disabilities and those who have helped empower them,” said Mayor Parker.  “As we commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ADA, Houston takes special pride in its long history at the forefront of advocacy for the rights of this community dating back and leading up to the enactment of the ADA.  Our city has made great strides in addressing issues of access to facilities, transportation, services and economic opportunity for our citizens with disabilities and our work will continue as we improve upon these accomplishments.”

“Our job at the Department of Neighborhoods is to serve all communities,” said Katye Tipton, Director of the Department of Neighborhoods. “Today’s celebration is an affirmation of our commitment to inclusiveness and to providing equal access and opportunities to all Houstonians. This is also a celebration of the synergy that comes through our department’s longstanding partnership with local agencies and business supporters to help meet the needs of citizens with disabilities.”

The program included the presentation of the 2015 Care Awards and DARS Business of the Year Awards and lively music by the Air Force Band of the West “Dimensions in Blue.”  The Disabilities Rights Museum on Wheels served as the cornerstone of the celebration.  The traveling exhibit highlights the history of the ADA and the impact it has made on the lives of people with disabilities.  The event also featured informational booths and adaptive sports demonstrations.

The annual Disability Awareness Month Kickoff is produced by the Department of Neighborhoods with support from the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the participation of local agencies.

For a calendar of October events, call 832-394-0814 or visit

2015 Care Award Recipients
Lifetime Achievement
Lex Frieden, Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Rehabilitation
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Outstanding Individual
David Spears, Disability Navigator, Workforce Solutions
Outstanding Organization
Sailing Angels Foundation
National Federation of the Blind of Texas, Houston Chapter
Outstanding Business

2015 DARS Business of the Year Award Recipients
Marathon Oil Corporation
Newfield Exploration Company