The History of Sustain Our Abilities
About The Founders
"We share a passion for the Earth. We realize inadequate attention is paid
to the current & future impacts of extreme weather and how it will affect quality of life for persons with and without disabilities."
Dr. Marcalee Alexander is a physiatrist and Dr. Craig Alexander, is a rehabilitation psychologist. After working for 33 years in rehabilitation, and having difficulty trying to have professionals attend to the threats of climate change with regards to people with disabilities, Dr. Marcalee Alexander decided that using traditional academic channels was an insufficient mechanism to raise awareness regarding this existential threat.
Thus, on June 21, 2019 the Alexanders began a walk from Campobello Island in Canada to Key West, Florida to raise awareness regarding climate change and disability and bring together professionals and persons with disabilities in community regarding this imporant concern.
Along the way, events included multiple grand rounds at academic medical centers, a community walk in New York City with a presentation at the Oculus of the World Trade Center and a walk through the city of Philadelphia with an event at the Love Statue. In Washington, DC the first Day for Tomorrow event was held on the mall.
In 2020, the walk was halted in Rocky Mount, North Carolina due to Covid 19. This allowed the mission to transition to a virtual world. Moreover, the organization Sustain Our Abilities was approved as a US 501C3 nonprofit in 2019 and in April of 2020, the Sustain Our Abilities YouTube channel was developed. Since then, Sustain Our Abilities has grown to have Advisory Board Members from Argentina, Canada, Greece, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Phillipines, and Romania in addition to the US, along with participants from many other countries. Moreover, we have brought together persons with the lived experiences of different disabilities and professionals, to work together in community to promote environmental justice and quality of life for persons with disabilities and ensuring we all Sustain Our Abilities despite the climate crisis.