An activist group for persons with disabilities nearly ends

James Krause

A disability ally group has been reformed through the College of Health and Human Services.

The Disability Ally & Advocacy Association, known as DALLAS, is a social justice organization that promotes disability awareness, career development, and self-advocacy for all students.

DALLAS Vice President Caprisha Williams, said she likes groups like DALLAS because of the support it provides for students with disabilities.

“I want an ally,” Williams said. “I want to feel like someone is behind me.”

The group was forced to disband briefly at the beginning of the school year because it was unable to find financial support.

DALLAS President Gisela Guzman said a big assist in bringing the program back came from Matthew Sprong, assistant professor of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, who Guzman served as a teaching assistant for.

“My professor offered to be an advisor for the organization and has been helping me get the organization up and running again,” Guzman said. “[Sprong] is helping this all go through and give us ideas on how to move this organization forward.”

Sprong said he joined the group because he thinks DALLAS is an important step toward progress and inclusion for students with disabilities.

“We talk about wanting people with disabilities included in our society in employment and housing and all the things people without disabilities enjoy,” Sprong said. “DALLAS is one of those organizations that are trying to solve this problem in the DeKalb area.”

Sprong said DALLAS also plays a role among students who don’t have disabilities, as they can raise awareness for struggles disabled students may experience.

“People with disabilities see a lot of limitations within the community,” Sprong said. “A lot of limitations or barriers are present that maybe people without disability don’t know or pay attention to.”

DALLAS also offers ally training to students and staff to teach them how they can help students who have disabilities in a college environment.James Krause

News Reporter

DeKALB — A disability ally group has been reformed through the College of Health and Human Services.

The Disability Ally & Advocacy Association, known as DALLAS, is a social justice organization that promotes disability awareness, career development, and self-advocacy for all students.

DALLAS Vice President Caprisha Williams, said she likes groups like DALLAS because of the support it provides for students with disabilities.

“I want an ally,” Williams said. “I want to feel like someone is behind me.”

The group was forced to disband briefly at the beginning of the school year because it was unable to find financial support.

DALLAS President Gisela Guzman said a big assist in bringing the program back came from Matthew Sprong, assistant professor of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, who Guzman served as a teaching assistant for.

“My professor offered to be an advisor for the organization and has been helping me get the organization up and running again,” Guzman said. “[Sprong] is helping this all go through and give us ideas on how to move this organization forward.”

Sprong said he joined the group because he thinks DALLAS is an important step toward progress and inclusion for students with disabilities.

“We talk about wanting people with disabilities included in our society in employment and housing and all the things people without disabilities enjoy,” Sprong said. “DALLAS is one of those organizations that are trying to solve this problem in the DeKalb area.”

Sprong said DALLAS also plays a role among students who don’t have disabilities, as they can raise awareness for struggles disabled students may experience.

“People with disabilities see a lot of limitations within the community,” Sprong said. “A lot of limitations or barriers are present that maybe people without disability don’t know or pay attention to.”

DALLAS also offers ally training to students and staff to teach them how they can help students who have disabilities in a college environment.

Guzman said the effort to reach out to students with disabilities and other groups in the community means overhauling the organization by redesigning the group’s logo along with revamping their Facebookpages. She said one of the group’s future goals is to work with the Disability Resource Center, with hopes of helping spread the word of DALLAS.

“Right now, we don’t have an actual relationship with the DRC,” Guzman said. “I would like to build one and it might happen, but there is a lot happening. It’s going to be a slow and steady thing to get that going.”

A problem Guzman sees in reaching out to DRC at this time is that both organizations are going through organizational changes.

“I’ve been here for five years and the Center has gone through a lot of changes,” Guzman said. “It has been hard for us to work with them because of the constant changes in their staff.”

DALLAS meets from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every other Tuesday in Writz Hall room 104.