Featured Project: Voices of Change
The Story of Paul Dick, Accessible Transportation Advocate
At just 14 years-old, Blair County native Paul Dick (1940 – 2010) was diagnosed with polio. He began to experience paralysis and use a wheelchair. He started treatments at Warm Springs, a polio treatment facility founded by President Franklin Roosevelt. As a teen who was receiving treatments and care away from home, then a professional who was faced with unreliable transportation to work, Paul saw firsthand that transportation was a major barrier for people with disabilities.
Paul, an ardent changemaker, was determined to eliminate this barrier. He helped create Allegheny County’s ACCESS Transportation System, one of the largest coordinated systems that stands as a model nationwide. His remarkable 55-year advocacy career focused on ensuring sustainable, accessible public transportation that operated as a collaboration between government and the citizens who use it.
Preserve and Share
The Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium preserves and shares the historic struggle of Western Pennsylvanians with disabilities to attain human and civil rights.
We educate the public about disability history in order to improve community access, participation and equal opportunity, and to ensure disability rights through existing and new policies and laws.
We join stakeholders across Pennsylvania to advocate on policies that ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities.
Western Pennsylvania has played a significant role in the history of disability rights. From Arc Allegheny’s efforts in the 1970s to expose abusive conditions in state institutions to Allegheny County’s development of the first paratransit system in the nation in the 1980s, Western Pennsylvania has taken a stand.
- Visit our historic timeline
- Learn more about the contribution of Western Pennsylvanians as documented in projects conducted by Consortium partners:
- Voices of Our Region Oral History Project
- Visionary Voices (interviews with key advocates)
- From Wrongs to Rights (documentary)
- i go home (documentary)
- User Guide for Preserving and Sharing the History of Pennsylvanians with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (PDF)
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