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Children With Disabilities Get To Meet With The Governor At Parade


           Jamila Russell of the ADA

FREDERIKSTED – The Office of the Governor in conjunction with the Americans with Disabilities Act said it valued participating in the “Cultivating Inclusion Fun Troupe” in the St. Croix Festival Children’s Parade this holiday season.

The troupe was made possible through a collaborative effort with the Departments of Education, Human Services and Labor.

Cultivating Inclusion Fun Troupe was an inclusive troupe of 22 Virgin Islands’ Gems with and without disabilities dressed in their future career wear: firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses and actresses.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits the discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that mandates a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for individuals with disabilities. To these ends, the governor’s office said the Cultivating Inclusion Fun Troupe “captured the spirit behind both laws by ensuring that students with disabilities along with their non-disabled peers can learn, play and enjoy festival together. “

Gov. Kenneth Mapp attended the Children’s Parade on Jan. 1, 2016 and said that he was “pleased with the participation of these beautiful gems” and said that “as a government, we must embrace all of our citizens; the Cultivating Inclusion Fun Troupe, with the beautiful, talented children have shown us that those with and without disabilities can work and play beside each other.”

The children had the opportunity to greet Mapp and Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter as they walked by the governor’s stand.

Jamila Russell, the Territorial ADA Coordinator indicated that the message of inclusion will be promoted year round and that students in the St. Thomas District will have the same opportunity to participate in the St. Thomas Carnival Children’s Parade.

Russell said that the troupe would not have been possible without the generous support of the sponsors which included Banco Popular, VI Lottery, Gentlemen of Jones, Community Foundation of the VI, Cane Bay Partners, and Seven Seas Water.

For further information on the ADA or the Cultivating Inclusion Fun Troupe, please contact Russell at (340) 772-1000 or (340) 227-2348.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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