Fishers gears to raise awareness for disabilities


The City of Fishers will host its annual National Disability Awareness Month celebration starting March 1. The goal of the event is to raise awareness for what life is like for those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

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“It is important to share what the City of Fishers has done to create a life without limits for its residents, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Cecilia Coble, committee co-chair. “It is important because we need to continue to educate people about disabilities. Disabilities are part of the human experience. Sixty-one million adults in the United Sates live with a disability.”

This year’s theme, “Building Our Future Together,” was chosen to coincide with the City of Fishers’ 150th anniversary.

“The future and how to include all people is always an exciting conversation — and one on which we want to continue a focus. But people with disabilities have endured a great deal to emerge to this point,” said Kelly Hartman, committee co-chair. “As we look ahead, it will be important to consider where we have been, what lessons we have learned along the way and how that wisdom will empower the future.”

Advocating for disability inclusion is a passion for Coble, a Fishers City Council member, who is the mother of a special needs daughter with autism and intellectual disabilities.

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“Almost eight years ago, my mother-in-law also had a massive stroke that led her to have physical disabilities.  When I was elected as a Fishers City Councilor in 2015, I was committed to making a positive impact at the local level for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” she said. “There are many challenges and needs facing the disability community.  I felt that by educating the community and working together, we could create more inclusion, accessibility, and work opportunities in Fishers.”

Coble asked Hartman to join her as co-chair because of the latter’s extensive firsthand experience advocating for the disability community.

“After nearly 30 years of working in the field supporting people with intellectual disabilities on both the statewide and national stage, I realized there were significant unmet needs within our own community of Fishers,” Hartman said. “As a resident of this evolving city, I was inspired to take action locally to assure all people, of all capabilities are included in opportunities throughout this community.”

The March 1 kickoff will be the official unveiling of the event theme with Hartman as the keynote speaker. Art receptions March 3 and 10 will be in collaboration with the Fishers Arts Council and feature the artistic talents of individuals with disabilities.

Other events include the March 2 OneZone March Disability Awareness Breakfast: Finding Your Next Great Hire, featuring panelists who will offer insight on hiring individuals with disabilities and debunking disability myths in the workplace; workshops at the Hamilton East Public Library; and the return of the Ally Campaign.

“The Ally Campaign encourages the community to become an ally for disability inclusion. The toolkits include a T-shirt, yard sign, stickers, and resource materials,” Coble said. “The resource materials include a language guide, answers to frequently asked questions about disabilities, a pledge to be an ally and social media graphics.”

Residents can pick up a toolkit beginning March 1 at Launch Fishers or at the Fishers City Services building, starting March 2.

For more on National Disability Awareness Month in Fishers, visit