The 2019 TASH Conference, held on December 5–7, 2019, was at a spectacular location — the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix, Arizona. Located on Gila River Indian Community (Official Site | Wikipedia article) land, the shared home of the Akimel O’otham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) tribes, the location was a perfect contribution to this year’s Conference theme of Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities.
Opening General Session
After the Thursday Workshops and Thursday Employment Track, the Conference proper got under way with Friday’s opening General Session. Rosie Rivera, the Cultural Manager with the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, gave a short talk on the history of the Gila River Indian Community and their century-long struggle to recover their water rights. The two events that really left attendees talking for the rest of the Conference were Raymond Guron’s talk, “Finding Purpose Through Struggle: My Personal Experience as an At-Risk Student and How I Build Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom” and the performance of Native hoop dancer Brian Hammill of Native Spirit Productions, with his brother, Palmer Lomakema, singing and playing the drum.
|Native hoop dancer Brian Hammill of Native Spirit Productions, with his brother, Palmer Lomakema, singing and playing the drum.|
This year TASH presented its Positive Images in the Media Award to the film The Peanut Butter Falcon. Instead of showing a medley of trailers, short films and excerpts, this year we opted to show The Peanut Butter Falcon in its entirety.
Prior to the screening, we showed an interview that TASH’s Tia Nelis conducted with Zack Gottsagen, one of the stars of The Peanut Butter Falcon, and an actor with Down syndrome. Zack was also present at the Membership Luncheon to accept the Positive Images in the Media Award (see below).
One of the hallmarks of TASH is the diversity of our community and their perspectives and approaches. This is on full display at our annual get-together. Sessions are researh-based and experience-based; theoretical and practical; lecture and interactive; listening and participating; data-driven and story-driven; funny and serious; emerging leaders and seasoned pros; long-standing TASH favorites and new-comers. The photographs below demonstrate some of the variety you get at TASH.
And it’s not just the planned events at the Conference: it’s the meetings that occur spontaneously. This group, coming together in the hallway, is ready to give public transit what-for over the myriad ways it fails people with disabilities.
This year’s Exhibit Hall included 29 exhibitors, which included micro-enterprises, technology and equipment makers, publishers and organizations. You can see the complete list of exhibitors here.
|Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift signing their book, Being Realistic Isn’t Realistic; the pseudonymous author Ethan Sarem and his series of utopian novels; Rob’s Be Cool Stone Creations.|
One of the great successes of the TASH Conference in recent years is the amount of enthusiasm the Poster Presentations have generated. They draw huge attendance, and not just for the food: people pick up snacks and a drink, then circulate to all the presenters, eager to discuss the ideas on display!
This year we are particularly gratified that one of the three winning posters was by two former TASH interns, Jake Goodman and Will Fried (we swear, all our judges are impartial!).
The three poster presentation award winners were the following:
- Jake Goodman and Will Fried, The Clash of Disability and Extracurricular Collegiate Student Life (pictured above)
- Nicole Birri, Magen Rooney-Kron and Stacy Dymond, Social Skills Interventions for Increasing Employability
- Nowara Faraj Abudabbous, My Point of View of Serving Children with ASD in a Developing Country
Membership Luncheon and Awards Ceremony
The Membership Luncheon and Awards Ceremony is our occasion to show our appreciation of our members and to hold up just a few of thier major accomplishments and long dedication. Here are the people we recognized this year.
The awardees, top to bottom, left to right are the following:
- Scott Shepard and Dan Heldoorn — Larry J. Brumond Supportive Relationship Award
- Andrea Rupper — Early Career Researcher Award
- Samantha Gross-Toews — Alice H. Hayden Emerging Leader Award
- Dr. Stephanie MacFarland and Mrs. Azam Anet — June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award
- Ginger Kwan — Ralph Edwards Diversity and Social Impact Award (not present; award accepted by Open Doors for Multicultural Families delegation)
- Karen Lee — Marc Gold Employment Award
- Chernet Weldeab — Special Recognition Award
- Frank Laski — Lifetime Achievement Award
- Shirley Rodriguez — Barbara R. Trader Leadership Award (not present)
- Zack Gottsagen — Positive Images in Media Award
This is our official reflection on the conference, but we’re not the only word. To see the experiences that attendees posted on social media check out the conference hashtag, #2019TASHconf on Facebook, Instagram or twitter.
Thanks to Everyone Who Made It Possible!
We work all year to bring our Conference together, but the TASH staff is small: we couldn’t have done it without the contributions of our Board of Directors, the Arizona TASH Chapter Local Host Committee, especially its two co-chairs, Andrea O’Brien and Cheryl Brown, and when the week of the event arrives, a spectacular group of volunteers. Thank you to everyone who made it possible! And a special thank you to our 2019 Sponsors and Exhibitors!