Community forum focuses on people with disabilities

'Community conversation' hopes to identify challenges people with disabilities face

The Disability Action Network, or D.A.N., and the La Crosse Human Rights Commission came together to hold a Community Listening and Conversation Session on Tuesday at the Moose Lodge in La Crosse.

The goal of the session was to allow people with disabilities the chance to talk about the challenges they face in the community.  D.A.N. and the La Crosse Human Rights Commission hope to use the discussion as a way to better understand those challenges, and how to find solutions.

Representatives from both organizations say the event will hopefully make the community more disability friendly.

“(We) have the opportunity to give a voice to people with disabilities and their experiences. Too often they don’t have a voice in the community or they’re a forgotten element in the community and this is an opportunity to listen and for those folks to speak up,” said Mary Kessens of Disability Action Network.

“We have a great community but we have some things that we can work on and do better and these listening sessions will help us figure those things out,” said La Crosse Human Rights Commission member Will Van Roosenbeek.

Rosenbeek and Kessens say employment opportunities for people with disabilities was a hot topic going into the discussion.

The Disability Action Network is a new local collaboration hoping to create a network for people with disabilities to utilize.