Remembering a Hero--Kathy Vincent

Submitted by Kevin Williams on June 24, 2013 - 7:47pm

--posted by Julie Reiskin on CCDC Alerts, 6/20/13

CCDC lost a great leader and hero of the disability rights movement.  Kathy
Vincent. the first Board President of CCDC, died June 18, 2013.  She turned
50 on the day the American's with Disabilities Act passed and it was
fitting that the law was signed on her birthday.   She was one of the
people who helped make the ADA happen.  Kathy was an adamant activist whose
life was all about INDEPENDENT LIVING.  She was a Colorado Native and used
her story and situation to make life better for those who followed.  She
was certainly one of my heroes--and her story always made me appreciate
what those who came before me endured and did to make life workable for us

Kathy was denied an education, and raised by parents who loved her. Her
family had to split up for her to get therapies --in those days no
Medicaid.  Her family did whatever was needed for her, but she felt they
should not have to care for an adult, and in her day there was no attendant
care.  She went into a nursing home at a young age and endured the hell
that goes with that until she met Wade Blank years later.   She was one of
the people that was freed and part of the early days at the Atlantis
Community.  Kathy was an independent thinker and there was a time that such
independent thinking was not welcome at Atlantis--she left and went out on
her own.   he Atlantis that exists today would be happy to have someone
like Kathy and I regret that Kathy was not well enough to revel in the many
positive changes in the disability rights movement that have happened over
the past few years.

 Kathy dealt with mistreatment by many--she had a real and serious
communication disability and many people refused to work with her or listen
to her because of that.  It was not until she was almost 70 that she had
technology to be able to have true independent communication.

Kathy spent years going to the Capitol and meeting after meeting at
Medicaid.   She was on many boards and committees over the years.  She went
around the country with ADAPT protesting.   She rode the bus all over town
and was an avid Rockies fan.   Despite all of the real discrimination she
faced on a daily basis Kathy was never mean spirited.   She was a terrific
role model on how to be angry at discrimination without being hateful
towards the world.

My older stepson, who is now 28, reflected tonight that when he was
introduced to the disability community at age 7,after his mother's stroke,
that Kathy was one of the people who was always nice to him, who talked to
him and his brother and who taught him disability--and that it was not a
bad thing.

Kathy was one of those people who never got a full education, I am not sure
if she had a high school diploma, but she changed the world.   She was a
leader in that early generation of disability rights activists to whom we
owe our freedom today.  She led by example.   Despite her very real
barriers she powered on and stayed committed to the ideal of freedom for
all of our people.    As I said, she was our first Board President and led
CCDC through our formative years.

I know her belief system did include an afterlife, so she is likely in very
good company at this point.    If she indeed "dancing in heaven" it is a
wheelchair dance.

Services for Kathy are on June 28, 2013 at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 1280
Vine Street, at 1pm.  An obituary notice should be in the Post in the next
couple days.

Kathy will always be a part of the minds and hearts of CCDC.

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