The parade focuses on spreading a message of acceptance and pride, with the theme of preserving social justice. According to the Silicon Valley Living Center's executive director, Sarah Triano, the parade seeks to unite disabled and non-disabled community members in a fight for safety measures and funding for vulnerable citizens.
"We really feel that in this area of budget cuts, the safety net for a lot of populations is being demolished," Triano says. "We need to join together to really make sure that that safety net exists for some of our county's most vulnerable people."
Although the parade was held in San Jose for the past two years, it is moving to downtown Mountain View this year in order to allow disabled Mountain View residents who previously could not attend the parade due to accessibility issues to participate, Triano says.
The downtown Mountain View event begins with a parade at 11 a.m., and a community festival at City Hall, Civic Center Plaza and Pioneer Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival, focused on disability awareness, aid, and education, includes vendor booths from Santa Clara County organizations and state organizations such as Disability Rights California.
The parade coincides with other disability pride events around the country, including the original Disability Pride Parade in Chicago that was started by Triano in 2004. Triano says she initially began the parade in order to combat the shame that many young people with disabilities feel.
"We really had to do something to send a loud message to youth with disabilities that they were whole, beautiful human beings just the way they are, that being disabled is a natural part of humanity, and they should never be ashamed of who they are," Triano says.
More information on participating in the parade is at Silicon Valley Independent Living Center's website at www.svilc.org, or by calling the organization at 408-894-9041, extension 251.