2016. A year that shook many of us to our core. A year that began with the greatest personal loss of our lives and ended with massive collective grief as we came to grips with how fractured our world has become. And yet, it was also a year of coming together, of fierce commitment to standing strong in love and in unity.
The night before he passed, Jim’s work with FREED to develop employment services for people with disabilities had just come to fruition. FREED’s Executive Director, Ana Acton, shared this at his Celebration of Life:
Jim worked closely with us over the last year, in total harmony with our organization and staff. Working in the independent living movement, understanding the power of individuals with disabilities having equal opportunity and the ability to make their own choices in how they live, play, shop, and work, was something that our organization has been working on for years and it immediately became clear that Jim “got it”.
He understood and embodied FREED’s drive to create real opportunity for people with disabilities, the understanding that you cannot have independence without employment and you cannot have employment without independence. We were honored to work alongside Jim – deepening FREED’s understanding of the business world and what WE are capable of – deepening Jim’s understanding of the real issues, stereotypes, and misunderstandings that keep people with disabilities from living their dreams.
Jim did not just create a business plan but he tied everything up into a nice bow, leaving us ready to take on the future as a contractor with the Social Security Administration.
I am not sure if or how Jim knew that his end was near but it was the very evening before he passed away that I received an email so characteristic of him – the type of communication that gave you the feeling that he was behind you 100%, that helped confirm and validate that you are on the right path:
“I am excited by the possibilities you have set into motion, and I’m seeing how ignorance in the business realm creates opportunity for FREED. Now slip into this beautiful evening.”
Next we’ll share the work Jim shepherded to increase virtual accessibility for people with disabilities.