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New Disability Awareness Coordinator focusing on access, opportunity, and breaking down barriers

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 19:00:55-04

LAFAYETTE, La. – A new Disability Awareness Coordinator has been appointed for Lafayette Parish.

Mayor-President Josh Guillory announced Thursday that Harlon Cowsar has been appointed as Lafayette Consolidated Government’s (LCG) Disability Awareness Coordinator.

Cowsar was 18 years old when he lost his eyesight in a car crash, according to an LCG spokesperson. In his new role, Cowsar is 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.

Cowsar's big three:

  • 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. 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,” Cowsar said.

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