LET’S BE FRANK
OCTOBER 25 | CENTER six one five
ADEC’s 2018 Annual Celebration
Thursday, Oct. 25
Doors open @ 5:30 p.m.
Join us for dinner at the new CENTER six one five as we celebrate another great year at ADEC!
Together we will celebrate the people ADEC serves and enjoy a keynote message from disability advocate Frank Stephens.
MEET FRANK STEPHENS
“I am a man with Down syndrome, and my life is worth living.”
He has taken on Ann Coulter in a nationally televised debate over the use of the “R-word” and he’s made cameo appearances on the Emmy Award winning A&E reality show “Born this Way.”
On Oct. 25, Frank Stephens share his message of acceptance with the guests at ADEC’s Annual Celebration as the keynote speaker.
Stephens, who was born with Down syndrome, considers himself a global messenger and advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, like the more than 1,000 individuals ADEC serves each year. Twice now, he has gone viral for his eloquent and poignant testimonies about how people with disabilities add just as much value to the world as those without.
In 2012, after conservative political commentator Ann Coulter used the “R-word” to describe President Barack Obama, Stephens wrote an open letter explaining how harmful the word can feel to people with disabilities.
“I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me,” Stephens wrote. “You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV. I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
“Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.”
Frank was invited to join Piers Morgan on his CNN show a few days later, and Frank used the platform to reiterate that the “R-word” is offensive and used in hate.
Last year he found himself in the spotlight again after news spread that Iceland had nearly eliminated Down syndrome in its population. Stephens argued that it is not something the country should be celebrating — rather than finding a scientific method or removing the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome, the country has focused on eliminating people with Down syndrome through prenatal screenings and abortion.
In Iceland, nearly every pregnancy that tests positive for Down syndrome is terminated.
In a testimony to U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill that has been viewed more than 1 million times on social media, Stephens announces: “I am a man with Down syndrome, and my life is worth living.”
“I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist,” Stephens testified. “That view is deeply prejudiced by an outdated idea of life with Down syndrome. Seriously, I have a great life! I have lectured at universities, acted in an award-winning film and an Emmy-winning TV show, and spoken to thousands of young people about the value of inclusion in making America great. I have been to the White House twice — and I didn’t have to jump the fence either time.”
MEET THE ADEC AWARD WINNERS
CHRIS TROTTER | Heart of the Game
Darrius Williams | Creative Spirit
LINDA HARTZELL | Weekday Warrior
KEVIN SEYMORE | World Changer
ASHLEY VAN VURST | Dare to Dream
ROBERT KURZHAL | A Life of Their Own