The Kootenay Community Council for Self Advocates (KCCSA) planted a commemorative maple tree in Kinsmen Park last week.
KCCSA is a group of people who work to break down barriers to inclusion and help make a difference in the lives of people with diverse abilities. They are trying to plant maple trees in as many West Kootenay communities as possible to commemorate past self advocates.
Maple trees were chosen because they are strong and diverse with their many changing colours. The trees are accompanied by a plaque that reads: “This tree symbolizes the roots that persons with diverse abilities have planted to keep our community solid and inclusive.”
Coordinator Margaret Bromley says so far they have had an overwhelming positive response to the project from the communities of Castlegar, Nelson, Trail, Nakusp, Kaslo, Montrose and Fruitvale.
The Kootenay council is one of 13 councils across the province that are part of Community Living BC, the government agency that connects adults with developmental disabilities to the funded services and community support they need to live a good life.
Self- Advocacy is a rights movement led by people who have been labelled as having a developmental disability.
“An important part of our work is to promote the strengths and abilities of the people CLBC serves and to recognize and build the leadership of self advocates in our local communities,” said Bromley.
“Self-advocates are re-shaping society to make sure people who have been labelled have the same rights and opportunities to contribute as everyone else.”