HARRISONBURG — Pleasant View, a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities in the Valley, held its second annual disability awareness rally Tuesday afternoon on Court Square, joined by more than two dozen people.
“See me, not my disability,” and “disability is not my inability” filled signs in an effort to support Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, which is observed in March.
The group was comprised of intellectually disabled adults, several of whom addressed the crowd to say where they work and volunteer.
Watkins Parrish, 46, of Harrisonburg, serves as the president of Harrisonburg Aktion Club, a service club for adults with disabilities that is sponsored by the Harrisonburg Kiwanis Club.
“I enjoy going around the community and picking up trash at the Blacks Run and Downtown Clean Up Day,” Parrish said.
John McCall works at Domino’s Pizza and enjoys volunteering for Meals on Wheels, which provides meals to homebound senior citizens, and the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA.
Pleasant View focuses on supporting individuals with disabilities in living out their goals for meaningful work, relationships and spiritual development, according to a press release. Founded in 1971, the organization provides residential and day support services to people with disabilities throughout Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.
In an interview before the rally, Pam Miller, development director at Pleasant View, said the event keeps those with disabilities at the forefront of the community.
“It is important to make sure people are thinking about those with disabilities and how much they are contributing to our community,” Miller said.
Miller said it was clubs and organizations like Aktion Club that inspired her to start the event last year.
Nancy Hopkins-Garriss, executive director of Pleasant View, said the purpose of holding the rally was to be a presence and to have the people of Harrisonburg know of that presence.
“I think as we realize that so many people don’t know about people with disabilities and how they are just like everyone else — they just want to be a part of the community,” Hopkins-Garriss said. “We want people to know that there are people with disabilities in our community.”