Let’s Be Frank: ADEC’s Annual Celebration to feature keynote by disability advocate Frank Stephens

2018-08-16T11:03:29+00:00 August 16th, 2018|Community, Dignity|0 Comments

Frank Stephens has taken on Ann Coulter on national television and silenced Congress with just five words (“my life is worth living”). On Oct. 25, he will inspire and energize the guests at ADEC’s Annual Celebration as the keynote speaker.

ADEC is proud and humbled to welcome Frank to Elkhart County in October as he shares his message that people with intellectual disabilities add just as much value into the world as those without.

Frank, who has Down syndrome, considers himself a global messenger and advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Twice now, he has gone viral for his eloquent and poignant testimonies.

Let's Be Frank

WHAT: ADEC’s Annual Celebration, featuring Keynote Frank Stephens

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018

WHERE: CENTER six one five, Elkhart

Take advantage of our early bird special: get your tickets by Aug. 31 to save $5.

The first time was back in 2012 after conservative political commentator Ann Coulter used the R-word to describe President Barack Obama. The backlash was immediate, but one response resonated more than any others: An open letter Frank Stephens wrote to Ann.

“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.

— Read Frank’s 2012 open letter to Ann Coulter about the R-word

He went viral again in 2017 after news spread that Iceland has nearly eliminated Down syndrome in its population. It is not that the country has found a scientific method of removing the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome — rather, 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 powerful testimony he delivered to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Frank said eliminating Down syndrome is not something worth bragging about.

“I completely understand that the people pushing this particular ‘final solution’ are saying that people like me should not exist,” Frank told the crowd. “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.”

The video of his speech went viral on Facebook and YouTube, amassing more than 50 million views.

Now, you have a chance to see Frank Stephens in person.

Tickets are on sale for ADEC’s Annual Celebration, which will take place Oct. 25 in Elkhart’s CENTER six one five. In addition to the keynote from Frank, guests will also celebrate several of the individuals ADEC serves for their accomplishments in work, on the field or in life over the past year.

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