Monday, February 22, 2010

AAPD to honor Stevie Wonder with its first AAPD Image Award

From AAPD:

WASHINGTON, DC –– The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country’s largest cross-disability membership organization, is honored to announce music legend Stevie Wonder (pictured) will be the first recipient of the AAPD Image Award.

Wonder will be presented with the award at the 2010 AAPD Leadership Gala on March 10 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. This is the first time the organization has honored an entertainer whose personal example helps to improve the way people with disabilities are perceived by society.

“Stevie Wonder is a global leader who has used his extraordinary talents to be an ambassador for civil rights and social justice,” said Andrew J. Imparato, President and CEO of AAPD. “We’re thrilled to be able to recognize his achievements with this inaugural award.”

Wonder, who has been blind since infancy, has helped define the sound of R&B and Pop music. A 25 time Grammy Award winner as well as the recipient of an Academy Award, Wonder is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His advocacy work is well known ranging from the anti-apartheid movement to work in the disability community. Most recently, he was chosen as the United Nations Messenger of Peace on International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2009.

Wonder's catalogue of classic hits from such albums as "Innervisions," "Fulfillingness' First Finale," "Songs In The Key Of Life," etc., include "Uptight (Everything's All Right)," "For Once In My Life," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life," "I Just Called To Say I Love You," and the rallying song, "Happy Birthday," that helped make Martin Luther King Day a national holiday. In 2008 Wonder received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and in 2009 performed his Library of Congress musical commission, "Sketches Of A Life."

In addition to the presentation of the AAPD Image Award at the event, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) will be presented with the Spirit of the ADA award, emerging disability rights leaders Don Dew and Lawrence Carter-Long will be presented with AAPD's 2010 Paul G. Hearne Award and AAPD board member Ted Kennedy, Jr. will present Connie Garner, longtime Policy Advisor to his father, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, with a Justice for All Award for 15 years of service to Senator Kennedy and the disability community in the U.S. Senate.

Fashion designer Betsey Johnson, who lent her unique design to the event logo and décor, will also be on hand to support the organization at the event.