This was part of my September 4, 2022 newsletter:
Ward 4 People & Places You Should Know
If you pay attention to local advocacy around disability issues or you are connected to our City media and broadcasting community, you may already know Zach Damon. He is an appointed member of two City commissions: the Commission on Disabilities Issues and the Cable Communications Commission. He is an award winning professional actor and broadcaster working through our local cable channel, as well as other streaming, and social media outlets.
Since the early 1990s, Zach has been an advocate for disability issues through public speaking and media work. At the age of six, he volunteered with The March of Dimes organization and eventually became a goodwill ambassador helping to raise awareness to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. In high school, Zach was a Member of the Advisory Committee with The Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living. He also served as the Michigan Representative on the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) with The National Council on Disability (NCD) in Washington, D.C. He spoke in front of members of Congress advocating for equal Education and Employment opportunities.
I first met Zach Damon in 2018, when I asked to be Council Liaison to the Commission on Disability Issues and I began attending and participating in their meetings. These last four years, I’ve witnessed Zach’s leadership as we’ve tackled important issues like inclusive transportation, City response to ADA complaints, and State law regarding car insurance coverage for catastrophic injuries.
The Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues (CODI) has evolved from a commission created and convened by Mayor Robert Harris and City Council in 1969, and maintained through the years under various names. Zach was first appointed to CODI in 2015 and he became chair of the commission in 2018. He is an enthusiastic advocate for the commission and is eager for others to participate in it. When I first asked Zach if I could include him in my newsletter, he was most excited about how it could promote and raise awareness about the work of CODI.
Zach explained, “In my opinion, the mission statement of The Commission on Disabilities Issues – ‘Committed to providing excellent municipal services that enhance the quality of life for all’ – is paramount.”
The commission meets monthly, on the third Wednesday of the month at 4pm. If you think you might be interested in joining CODI, you can apply here under “Disability Commission Application”:
Below are some important community resources/events:
Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living: Work with people of diverse abilities and disabilities to help you solve problems and achieve your goals.
The VISIONS Vendor Fair: The VISIONS Vendor Fair features a variety of exhibitors who will demonstrate the latest products and services for the blind, visually impaired and physically disabled. Electronic readers, magnifiers, support services for the blind, Braille devices, library services, CCTVs, leader dogs, and transportation services are just a few of the many outstanding services and products that will be on display. The VISIONS Vendor Fair is presented by the Ann Arbor District Library (which also serves as the Washtenaw Library for the Blind and Print Disabled) and is co-sponsored by the State of Michigan’s Bureau of Services for Blind Persons.
Outside of CODI, Zach hosts and produces an award winning television program called Ann Arbor Tonight. Ann Arbor Tonight is Ann Arbor ‘s first late night live audience, televised variety show. Written by writers from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Seinfeld, Ann Arbor Tonight features a celebrity guest interview, world class comedians, a live band or musical performer and starts with jokes and a monologue by Host Zach Damon. You can watch episodes of Ann Arbor Tonight and learn more about it here:
Zach has lived in Ward 4 for 33 years.
Zach is a cheerleader for Ann Arbor, producing entertainment with an intentionally local focus. As a city commissioner, Zach is committed to inclusion: making sure that everyone has the most opportunity to enjoy the community we share. He is someone you should know!