On juillet 26th, 2021, at an event to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the signing of the “Americans with Disabilities Act,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared that the State of Maryland would yearly celebrate July as Disability Culture and Achievements Month.
“Today, the State of Maryland is taking another step forward to ensure that all of our citizens are confident in their ability to contribute to their communities and assured that all value those contributions,” said Governor Hogan. “Every July, we will promote and enhance events and activities all across the state focused on disability pride, culture, and contributions to society.”
During the event, the governor also honored Becca Meyers; Meyers, 26, was born deaf due to Usher syndrome and has gradually lost her vision. Despite her disability, she amazed fans when she went on to win six medals as a Paralympic swimmer: three gold medals and a silver in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and a silver and bronze at the 2012 London Games.
Ms. Meyer’s dealt with an unimaginable frustration this year when she had to withdraw from the Paralympics games because officials would not allow her to bring her Personal Care Assistant, due to Covid mandates.
When interviewed, Becca said, “It makes me upset. I am a person with a disability. And I do not feel safe going to Tokyo without my PCA. I should not have to fear my safety in Tokyo because I have been denied my PCA. How can an organization that prides itself on celebrating athletes with disabilities do this to an athlete with a disability?”
Meyer’s father, who is equally as upset as his daughter, said, “he reckons the blame falls solely on the laps of the USOPC. We contacted the Maryland secretary of state, Becca deserved to be able to compete.”
“While we are all so disappointed for her, we are unbelievably proud of Becca for having the courage to speak up and speak out against this injustice,” said Governor Hogan. “Becca, you are an inspiration to so many people—including me.”
At Next Day Access, we are inspired by Ms. Beyer’s bravery. We think it is important to share these stories of resilience in the face of adversity. Every time you are faced with fear, exhaustion, sadness, or anger, we hope you will remember that you have people on your side that care.
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