BLOOMINGTON — LIFE Center for Independent Living, which works to empower people with disabilities, celebrated its 30th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Thursday night by hosting an international leader on rights of people with disabilities.

Marca Bristo, who helped to draft and win passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, was keynote speaker at LIFE CIL's annual meeting at Second Presbyterian Church's Grace Hall in Bloomington. About 100 people attended.

"I am incredibly honored that Marca joined us," said LIFE CIL Executive Director Gail Kear.

Bristo is president and CEO of Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago, which is among the nation's leading disability rights organizations.

Bristo received LIFE CIL's Distinguished Leadership Award.

Also honored by LIFE CIL during the meeting were George "Koko" Meisenbach, President's Award; Netia Carey and Terry Willett, Volunteer of the Year Award; LaTanya Sinclair, Star Personal Assistant Award; SHOW BUS Director Laura Dick, Advancing Community Access Award;

Miracle League of Central Illinois, Building Independence Award; Vincent Radcliffe, Leader of Tomorrow Award; William Gilmer and Tabitha Egbert, Advocate of the Year Award; and Paul Swiech, Edith Brady-Lunny and David Proeber of The Pantagraph news staff, Do the Right Thing Award.

During the 1980s, Bristo was a member of the U.S. Task Force on the Rights and Empowerment of Americans with Disabilities and helped to draft and win passage of ADA, the civil rights act for people with disabilities.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton appointed her to head the National Council on Disability. Later, she was president of the United States International Council on Disabilities and has promoted the rights of people with disabilities internationally.

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