Mackenzee Simms / Contributing Writer
Samford’s disability advocacy organization DREAM (Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring) is holding a fundraiser and silent auction on Nov. 16 from 6-8 pm.
The event will feature two keynote speakers. The first is Judge Martha Cook of Jefferson County District Court of Civil Appeals. She is a graduate of Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.
Accompanying Judge Cook is Attorney Jenny Ryan, a staff attorney for the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program.
In addition to these speakers, the night will feature a silent auction with prizes such as themed gift baskets. The basket themes will range from a movie night basket that will contain popcorn and theatre tickets, to a Birmingham basket that will include items such as zoo passes, tickets to the Alabama Theatre and sports memorabilia. Individual performances that are being auctioned include the Acappella choir and the on-campus jazz ensemble “Gracenotes.”
The goal of this fundraiser is to raise money for improved accessibility on campus, specifically better signage for campus accessibility routes and accessibility entrances.
“When people come on our campus, especially people that have physical disabilities, they don’t feel welcome because they see a campus that doesn’t look like it was made with them in mind,” said Bailey Deavers, the president of DREAM.
Creating signage on campus supports DREAM’s initiative to not only affect campus infrastructure and make Samford more accessible for all students, but also to nurture a more accepting environment.
“We want to normalize disabilities, we don’t want it to be something that causes people to be frowned upon, or looked at as different. We want people to be seen as who they are and for their worth and their humanity,” Deavers said.
Empathy is the DREAM core value Deavers cites as the most influential force in their mission.
“I really do believe that that’s the key to having community on this campus is being empathetic and really trying to understand where someone else is coming from by putting yourself in their shoes as much as you possibly can and attempting to understand their story. Everybody has something to contribute. Everybody has a story and you can learn something from anybody you just have to be willing to do so,” said Deavers.
The DREAM silent auction and fundraiser is free for all to attend. For more information and to register for the event, visit DREAM’s instagram @dreamsamford.