December 15, 2015
On December 10, 2015, the Motorola Solutions Foundation and the Civic Federation honored the outstanding public service of Karen Tamley, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). The annual award recognizes a non-elected government official who has had an extraordinary impact on the quality of state and local government services in Illinois.
Illinois’ business, civic and government leaders joined the event co-chairmen and past Motorola honorees for the awards breakfast at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park International Ballroom to recognize Commissioner Tamley's outstanding career in public service.
Deputy Mayor of Chicago Steve Koch started the program with a welcome address. Matthew Blakely, Director of the Motorola Solutions Foundation, introduced Commissioner Tamley and presented the award. The presentation included a video tribute to Commissioner Tamley from local government officials, civic leaders and MOPD employees.
In her acceptance speech, Commissioner Tamley talked about her experience growing up before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, and how much has changed since its passage. She credited not only the law, but the tireless work of her colleagues and advocates in the disability community for bringing about profound change. The Commissioner impressed upon the audience that there is always more work to be done and that disability issues are everyone’s issues, because at some point every individual, friend or loved one will benefit from increased accessibility and inclusion. The Commissioner also discussed the Leadership Institute for People with Disabilities, an initiative she helped launch this year as part of the 25 anniversary of the ADA. The Leadership Institute aims to support qualified individuals with disabilities by providing tools to advance their careers, become leaders in their fields and become engaged citizens.
Commissioner Tamley received an original poster of the The Saturday Evening Post cover that was published on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday in 1938. It features an olive branch in the design and reads, “With malice toward none, with charity for all.” The publisher couldn’t have known when the issue went to print, but it was that exact day that Germany entered Austria, and it was the first kindertransport of Jewish refugee children to England. It’s a powerful and fitting reminder of the challenges governments face, and the champions of public service to whom we are all grateful. For more information on Commissioner Tamley's career, click here.