ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A Walk Against the Silence event went off in Abilene Saturday, drawing attention to the often muted voices of people with disabilities.

This inaugural event, organized by the West Central Texas Aging & Disability Resource Center, marked its commitment to breaking the silence.

Alesha Burks, director of the center, told KTAB/KRBC she wanted to emphasize how people with disabilities frequently find themselves unable to advocate for their rights and fully embrace their identities. To address this issue, the center offers educational classes aimed at enlightening people about their rights, even in the face of disability-related challenges.

However, Burks felt compelled to take a step further by organizing a walk to underscore the critical importance of this matter.

“There is a silent epidemic about individuals with disabilities not being able to speak out for themselves, not being able to advocate for themselves in their sexuality, and [we want to] just be able to talk and know what their rights are.”

As heavy of a subject as this is, those walking for the cause and advocates alike seemed to be in high spirits at Saturday’s walk. There were even volunteers to splash walkers with a fun pop of color.

For those grappling with the weight of feeling silenced, Burks encouraged them to reach out to the center at (325) 793-8440. She added that this event and the ongoing efforts of the West Central Texas Aging & Disability Resource Center serve as a beacon of hope, providing support and a platform for those who too often go unheard.