Paul's Note - December 9, 2022

Have you ever gone to an event where the person at the door has one of those little clickers to count people coming in? Well, we didn’t have one on Saturday for Disability Pride. I’ll only estimate then: we had a few hundred people come in and out of the event at Udall Park. 

I’d like to thank those of you that came out for showing up. It really was a fantastic day for both Tucson and our disability community. 

The first person I’d like to thank is Chris Desborough. Many of you that have called our office know Chris from his North London accent. He’s been passionate about issues affecting the disabled for years and putting together an event like this has been his dream for a while. He approached me about doing this earlier this year and my staff and I jumped at the chance. 

I’d also like to thank another member of my staff, Pat Burns. Pat coordinated much of the logistics of the event and participated in the planning. 

My entire staff helped. Odessa Draheim helped out on the day of the event, but also handled many of the calls into my office in the weeks leading up to it. Ted Prezelski, along with volunteer Julia Jennings Patterson, secured the sound equipment and acted as stage managers for the performers. 

I’d like to thank all of the performers, but particularly Jon McCann and his friend Andy (I never caught his last name) for letting us use some of their equipment for the day. 

I wanted to give a special thanks to all of the non-profits that helped at the resource fair, but it’s a long list. You can find it on our Disability Pride website here. However, I would like to call out the Arizona Center for Disability Law and their staffer, Natalie Luna Rose, for their early and enthusiastic help. Natalie is a long time friend and I couldn’t go without mentioning her. 

I’d also like to give special thanks to Mia Hansen and Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports. Mia gave some great advice to us, and her group put on some great demonstrations of adaptive sports. Even Mayor Romero did a few minutes of wheelchair basketball. I’d also like to thank them for acting as the fiscal agent for the event as well as being a sponsor. 

Putting on an event like this takes money, so we were happy to have the support of Southwest Gas, Tucson Electric Power, the University of Arizona’s Disability Cultural Center, Jim Click Automotive, Direct Center for Independence, Downtown Radio, Sun Sounds, City of Tucson, Arizona Council of the Blind and United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona. 

I’d like to thank all of the performers, particularly students from Magee Middle School, where I teach. I was proud to see some of my students up there singing. 

I mentioned that the Mayor made an appearance, but I’d also like to thank my colleague Councilmember Nicki Lee for coming as well. State Senator Priya Sunderashan stopped by as well. County Recorder Gabriella Cazares-Kelly spoke to the crowd but also had her staff there to present adaptive voting machines that we are using in Pima County. TFD’s Chief Mike Carsten gave out information to the adults and fire helmets for the kids. 

We’ve already been contacted by groups that want to participate next year. I hope we can still stage it at Udall, since it’s in Ward 2, but we may have to look for a larger venue. This is what they call a good problem. 

Again, thank you all for coming. Next year, we’ll have a clicker.