Jonathan Doherty receives disABILITY advocacy award
ALBION – An Albion man who has pushed for more opportunities for people with disabilities was recognized on Saturday for his years of advocacy.
Jonathan Doherty was presented with the Chris Burke Award for Excellence in disABILITY Advocacy on Saturday during a 20th anniversary celebration for People Inc.’s DisABILITY Museum in Buffalo.
Doherty led the effort in 2010 to ban the R-word in Orleans County. The County Legislature formally passed a resolution in May 2010, telling local, state and federal governments to no longer use the word “retarded” in describing people with developmental disabilities.
The R-word is a “vicious slang” that is insulting and hurtful to people with developmental disabilities and their families, legislators said in their resolution in 2010.
Doherty was a founding member of Self Advocate All Stars in 2006. One of its early goals was to rail against official government use of the “R-word.”
Doherty and the Self Advocate All Stars march in parades, wash cars, present at County Legislature meetings and make other efforts to reach out to the community.
Doherty said the community and state have a long way to go to making the communities more accessible for people with disabilities. He is on a transportation committee and he said a goal is later public bus runs so people with disabilities could go shopping, go to the movies or attend other events after the bus runs typically end by dinner right now.
“The transportation issue we need to continue to work on,” he said today. “We want buses after 6 p.m. or else it’s $40 to $50 for a taxi.”
Doherty, 35, said he will continue to be an advocate.
“With self advocacy there are issues across New York State where they cut things and they don’t recognize that people with disabilities matter, too,” he said.
Doherty is an active community member, volunteering with the Strawberry Festival Committee, Boy Scout Troop 164, the Albion Alumni Foundation, the Eastman at Albion Concert Series, and numerous events for The Arc of Orleans County. He also recently started dancing with Gotta Dance by Miss Amy.
He earned his Eagle Scout rank when he was 21 and is an assistant Scoutmaster. He wants to see more local Scouts earn their Eagle rank.