LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Mayor-President Josh Guillory announced today he has appointed a new Disability Awareness Coordinator for Lafayette Consolidated Government.
Harlon Cowsar, who lost his eyesight in a car crash as age 18, will hold the position, said Guillory, “furthering LCG’s commitment to the rights and needs of citizens with disabilities.”
Since his loss of sight, Cowsar’s endured common barriers and has overcome obstacles people with disabilities often face, according to Guillory. In his new role, Cowsar will be passionate about increasing access and opportunity.
“The big three are transportation, employment, and housing. I want other people with disabilities to have the same opportunities I’ve been blessed with. I’ve been at rock bottom and know how hard it is to pull yourself up,” Cowsar said.
- Transportation: Difficulty in scheduling rides. Without reliable transportation, access to employment, healthcare, education, and community life is limited.
- Employment: Barriers include reliable transportation, public attitudes, and employers underestimating capabilities of people with disabilities.
- Housing: Affordability and education are obstacles. People with disabilities could own a home, but many are unaware of assistance programs.
“One of my favorite quotes is by a behavioral psychologist and author, who also happens to be blind,” said Cowsar. “She said, ‘You can give a child permission to have a cookie, but if you place the cookie jar on a shelf that is high and out of reach, then the freedom is an unusable commodity.’ I want to try to bring that cookie jar down to a level that it can be a usable commodity.”