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ABOUT OUR MOTHER

Why She Should Be Your State Representative

 

What began as a routine referral from the Veterans Medical Administration in 2014 to Disability Advocates of Kent County for Navy Veteran Kimberly Y. Kennedy-Barrington, to assist her with a smooth transition into the disability community, after suffering a massive stroke in 2013, blossomed into a divinely orchestrated connection and thrust her into her purpose.

 

 In the fall of 2016 after completing the Veterans Medical Administration’s Independent Living Program with Disability Advocates of Kent County, their Occupational Therapy department nominated Kimberly to be the “Impact Speaker” for their annual fundraiser ‘Invest In Ability’. After speaking for only 7 1/2 minutes to the more than 300 philanthropic men and women gathered, Executive Director Dave Bulkowski knew there was a fierce Disability Advocate in the making.

 

After earning her first doctoral degree in 2017 from Midwest College of Theology she became affectionately known as 

“Dr. Kimberly.” She immediately put her degree and honed advocacy skills to use and founded 100 Shades of Diverse Ability L3C, whose mission is to: "improve the quality of life for persons with diverse abilities: legislatively,economically, through community partnerships and education."

 

Her advocacy work was not going unnoticed. May 2018, Governor Rick Snyder announced the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge grant initiative to address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state. The Challenge, a collaborative effort among several state departments, encouraged public-private partnerships to design pilot projects that use technology to improve mobility for the target populations. Dr. Kimberly was asked to represent and provide the lived experience testimonial for the first round of grant applicants. The second round of winners were announced at the 2019 Car Show in Detroit by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other state officials alongside Dr. Kimberly. Later that year Gov. Whitmer appointed Dr. Barrington to the Michigan Council for Rehabilitation Services representing Advocacy Groups. 

 

Now having been in the wheelchair for a mere three years, Dr. Barrington had mastered her new diverse ability and advocacy rhythm: legislatively, economically, through community partnerships and education. 

 

Legislatively: she lobbied and assisted with the successful passing of House Bills 4075 and 4076 in 2019: changing the way in which persons with disabilities have historically been viewed through discriminatory signage and descriptive language. ( they passed the House unanimously in 2019, but was never taken up in the Senate until after the pandemic in 2022.) With the passing of these bills, Dr. Barrington exhibited her personal mission of "providing a more positive perspective for how persons with disabilities are viewed" and by "continually challenging and dismantling the subtle belief that persons with disabilities are not as important or have as much economic value as able-bodied people." 

https://www.fox47news.com/neighborhoods/state-capitol/changes-coming-to-parking-signs-in-michigan-for-those-with-disabilities

 

Economically, Dr. Barrington exemplified a Social Change Agent, by serving as the past district president of the Business and Professional Women's Federation for six years and she served as the National Business Liaison Coordinator for Nonprofits for the Church of God In Christ which has a worldwide membership of more than six million members; she assists persons with disabilities to become entrepreneurs and campaigns for MiABLE which is a savings program through the Department of Treasury that helps people with disabilities save money without losing their government benefits. 

 

Dr. Kimberly became the first Title Holder and title holder of Color  of the Ms. Wheelchair Michigan USA 2019 which gave her a larger platform for advocacy. As a result, The Kingdom International Bible Institute Worldwide bestowed Dr. Barrington with the 2019 Community Service Award for her "Advocacy within the disability community." The following year, the African American Leadership Awards Group presented Dr. Barrington with the “Dr. Sofia Womack Quality of Life Award” for "improving the quality of life for persons with disabilities." 

 

May 7, 2020 the day before top White House officials asked the CDC on the “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework”  Dr. Barrington was already seizing the opportunity to frame the public narrative on how COVID-19 was impacting the disability community and how to shine a light on the marked intersection of disability within our society. She and Dave Bulkowski  began hosting a weekly series online: 

“Rolling On The Road with Dr. Kimberly & Dave” and “Rolling With The Doc.” The show airs in all 50 states and in 12 countries and has had guests from all spectrums of business, politics, education, healthcare and entertainment who candidly discuss their experiences. 

 

Good news travels fast and Women’s Lifestyle Magazine featured  Dr. Kimberly Yvonne Kennedy-Barrington on the cover of their July 2020 edition-Adversity to Advocacy and interviewed her for their Podcast “Inspired Voices”.  

 https://issuu.com/womenslifestylegr/docs/0720_womens_lifestyle_kimberly_yvonne_kennedy-barr

Amidst the backdrop of the pandemic, Dr. Kimberly continued the pursuit of education and received a second doctoral degree with a concentration in Disability Studies and Universal Access from Kingdom University International in June of 2021. She was also awarded the  “The Sword of King Solomon”

https://www.kibiw.org/?fbclid=IwAR0ZTaFgH-EamLMn2PfsDc6U4tdplKJTwA7U9IIZPC8u4mcRVlj2cpWiDpY

 

Solomon, the King of Israel from 970-931 BCE; built the Jerusalem Temple and cultivated the Sciences and the Arts; but what he is best known for is his great spirituality and wisdom. When God visited him in a dream and asked what gift he desired; he chose an understanding heart and wisdom that he may govern well and make righteous decisions for his people.

 

At Kingdom University International, they choose a student who best exemplifies him. They have mastered the relationship between religion and culture; and have applied academic theories and knowledge to solve real-world problems and they Award them the King Solomon Sword. 

 

 Dr. Barrington is a survivor of: 5 head surgeries, two separate bouts with cancer, a massive stroke, 2 jaw surgeries which caused her to become hearing impaired, and domestic violence. She is called: a daughter, wife, grandmother and a myriad of other monikers but the one name We are most proud to call her is-Our Mother. 

 

Dr. Kimberly Yvonne Kennedy- Barrington has left an indelible impression on not only myself but others as her values as a Champion of Service and a Social  Change Agent is recognized and visible to countless individuals across not only Michigan but our nation as well. 

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