2015 Mark Johnson Getting It Right Award Presented to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
The award will be formally presented at the NOVA/DC Getting It Right Conference at the Arlington Hilton on July 31, 2015. This award recognizes individuals and organizations who are dedicated to serving the needs of people with disabilities in a way that acknowledges them as whole and independent human beings. These individuals and organizations foster the self-actualization of the disability community, empowering us to act as our own best advocates, and our own best support system. Through their actions and efforts, they help to preserve the dignity of all people, and support and promote community. The state of Virginia has been the lead in understanding the needs of people with disabilities and incorporating people with disabilities in the emergency management planning. Portlight has been privileged to develop a close working relationship with the VDEM and we impressed that the State of Virginia has embraced inclusiveness in a tangible and meaningful way.
Mark Johnson is a man of action, a leader in the disability rights movement for nearly three decades. After a diving accident in 1971 left him with a spinal cord injury, he has dedicated his life to advocating for the civil rights of people with disabilities. In 1983, he, Wade Blank and several others co-founded Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transportation (ADAPT), a grassroots organization that has become the disability community’s strongest voice for change. He initiated the national Spirit of the ADA Torch Relay to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is currently spearheading the national celebration of the 25th anniversary, through the ADA Legacy Project, which he also helped to launch in 2012. He is currently the Director of Advocacy for the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research, and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury and brain injury. Mark has been recognized many times by his peers, receiving, among others, the Betts Award, the Justin Dart Jr. Spirit of ADA and Freedom Awards, the New Mobility Person of the Year Award and the NCIL Distinguished Service Award.
"No significant element or event of the US disability rights movement in the last three decades has passed without Mark Johnson’s direct, personal and positive involvement. His impact has been profound. He is a connector, a consensus builder and a community organizer. But, make no mistake: He is also a fierce opponent to those who would stand in the way of equal access and opportunity for our community. The Mark Johnson Getting It Right Award honors organizations and individuals exemplifying Mark’s commitment to people with disabilities," stated Paul Timmons, Board Chair of Portlight Strategies, when asked to describe his long-time friend and mentor.
About Portlight Strategies
Portlight Strategies has provided the post-disaster needs of people with disabilities since 1997. Portlight’s mission is filling the disaster related needs of unserved, underserved and forgotten people. We focus on the post disaster needs of those in small towns and rural areas, and all people with disabilities. We host conferences and engage in a variety of community building initiatives involving people with disabilities, especially as relates to disaster situations.
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971