As part of the U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez’s efforts to promote equality and social inclusion for persons with disabilities, Diego Mariscal, founder and CEO of 2Gether International, visited Chihuahua and Ciudad Juarez. He delivered a week-long program about his inspiring personal story as a person born with cerebral palsy but who overcame the odds becoming a medal-winning Paralympic athlete and founder of a global NGO addressing disability issues.
Mariscal met with Chihuahua State DIF President Cynthia Chavira, Secretary of Labor Ana Luisa Herrera, Secretary of Education and Sports Pablo Cuarón, and Secretary of Social Development Victor Quintana. During the meeting, highlighted the importance that government institutions make their facilities accessible and accommodating for persons with disabilities, not to mention ensuring hiring practices are open to such persons.
Mariscal also visited, met with, and presented various civil society organizations serving people with disabilities. These included the Fundacion Integra in Ciudad Juarez, as well as the Instituto Jose David and the Red de Discapacidad, Integracion y Desarrollo in Chihuahua city. During the course of these meetings, Mariscal addressed over 100 NGO and institutional leaders and representatives on the vital nature of disabled persons leading their own organizations and movements.
Similarly, Mariscal connected with a group of 21 Chihuahua State Special and Paralympic athletes – as well as their coaching staff and some parents. During his presentation to them at the municipal baseball stadium in Chihuahua, Mariscal delivered a inspirational overview about overcoming the challenges of disability to become a medal-winning Paralympic swimmer representing the state of Nuevo Leon. He also provided best-practices to parents and coaches related to how they can most effectively support the Special and Paralympic athletes.
As the founder of a social entrepreneurship that addresses inclusive entrepreneurship (and as a Tec de Monterrey graduate himself), Mariscal met with the directors of Orion Startups at the Tec de Monterrey campus in the city of Chihuahua. Following a facility tour, he delivered a presentation to over 50 startup owners and business program students on not just the moral imperative of business owners to be inclusive in their hiring practices, but to consider the positive economic impact that frequently accompanies incorporating persons with disabilities into the workplace.
In public presentations held at the Franklin Corner in Chihuahua and the EducationUSA advising center in Ciudad Juarez, Mariscal presented to over 80 attendees on his experience as a disabled person studying in a United States university. In her opening remarks at the EducationUSA advising center in Ciudad Juarez, Consul General Daria L. Darnell highlighted how “The United States works to remove barriers and create a world in which persons with disabilities enjoy dignity and full inclusion.”