Mayor Magee proclaims March IDD Awareness Month

March 13, 2024

On Tuesday March 5, 2024, at 11 a.m. members of the community including representatives from the ARC of the Pine Belt, Southern Civitan, and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services met with Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee to raise awareness about Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).

The month of March was first recognized as IDD Awareness month in 1987 when President Ronald Regan issued a public proclamation to encourage Americans to provide those with intellectual/developmental disabilities “the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead productive lives and to achieve their full potential.”

Since then, many states and municipalities have continued the tradition and worked to bring awareness to the issues facing individuals with IDD to members of their local communities.

The ARC of the Pine Belt Region, which began in 1962, has been working with community members to provide recreational services and enrichment programs to individuals with IDD throughout the Pine Belt.

The ARC of the Pine Belt Region hosts monthly programs for local individuals affected by IDD that allows them to participate in community life, such as going to the fair, attending festivals and events, and having holiday parties. Community members who do not have IDD are invited to join the organization to help those who do experience a fuller, more social life. Dues are $25.00 per year for a family. The organization is supported by the United Way of the Pine Belt, the Ann Morris grant program, and by private memberships and donations.  More information can be found at

Southern Civitan is the local chapter of the Civitan International organization founded in Birmingham, Alabama in 1917. The organization works to create opportunities and social change for those with an intellectual or developmental disability. More information can be found at

The MS Department of Rehabilitation Services helps local individuals find employment opportunities.

The proclamation read as follows:

Whereas, intellectual disability is a condition which today affects more than six million American children, adults, and their families; and

Whereas, the most effective weapons for alleviation of the serious problems associated with intellectual disabilities are public knowledge and understanding; and

Whereas, the potential for citizens with intellectual disabilities to function more independently and productively must be fostered; and

Whereas, during the month of March, 140,000 members through 1200 state and local chapters of the ARC of the United States are forging vital employment, educational, and fundraising campaigns under private sector initiatives,

Now, therefore, I, Johnny Magee, Mayor of the City of Laurel, Mississippi, do hereby proclaim March, 2024 as Intellectual Disabilities Month in the City of Laurel and encourage all citizens to give full support to efforts toward enabling people with intellectual disabilities to live productive lives and achieve their potential.

The City of Laurel, established as a lumber town in 1882, is conveniently situated approximately two hours from larger destination cities such as Jackson, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Mobile. In recent years, the city has become a destination all its own thanks, in part, to its starring role in HGTV’s popular “Hometown” series. As Laurel, and interest in it, continues to grow, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to help all of our residents and businesses reach their full potential.
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