Updated: Dec 04, 2015 12:04 AM
The Minister of Health took to the City Hall steps yesterday to champion equal rights for the disabled.
“Persons with disabilities should be assured access to the fundamental elements of daily life that are available to all members of the community,” said Jeanne Atherden after an 11am public march.
The event, which marked the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, was attended by government dignitaries, staff from Ageing and Disability Services and various community organisations.
Traffic signs were put up around Hamilton's 37 disabled parking bays, urging motorists not to abuse the spots during the busy Christmas period — even if they needed to stop for only a few minutes.
Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, said: “We live in a world of conveniences, and I can assure the public that those bays are far more convenient to those that need them than to those that don't.”
Guy Ryder, of the Geneva-based International Labour Organisation said in a statement: “Disability is a fundamental expression of human diversity. Firstly, because people with disabilities are the world's largest minority, representing some 15 per cent of the global population.
“Secondly, as persons of disability come from all countries, economic backgrounds and ethnicities, they are arguably the most diverse of all minority groups.”
Raising awareness: a morning march through Hamilton was held yesterday to mark the UN International Day of Persons With Disabilities (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Sign language: Carlaw Young Gibbons, 7, and Gabriel Booth, 7, inform the public about issues affecting those with hearing difficulties (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Show of support: Santino Dill, a student at Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, and his mother Lita Smith took part in yesterday's march to City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Promising action: Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health, Seniors and the Environment, championed equal rights during the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities at City Hall yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Taking part: Thomas Young, centre, joined people from various community organisations that promote the rights of persons with disabilities during yesterday's march from the Flagpole on Front Street to City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Crowd pleaser: Randy Hollis, from the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute's group home performs the whip and nae nae dance for those gathered at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Speaking out: Ed Christopher, the Town Crier of Hamilton, opened the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities at City Hall yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Reaching out: Laweitra Cartwright signs to the crowd during the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities at City Hall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)