Everyday Heroes: DJ Lamar

DJ Lamar Wright puts on dances especially for special needs people. (KATU Photo)

This week's Everyday Hero is a man with an ear for music, and a drive to get people on the dance floor.

DJ Lamar Wright is the founder and host of his monthly "Last Chance Friday Dance" parties. He's hosted them since the late 1990s. The dances are held especially for special needs people, as a way to get out, get together, and get down.

"I am the founder of it," says DJ Lamar. "It's another reason why I open up doors for people with disabilities."

DJ Lamar grew up around music. His mom listened to Motown and gospel, and Lamar would put on her tapes and records as a boy.

He still remembers his first album.

"Oh, the Commodores," he laughs.

Starting with an album with danceable, classic songs like "Brick House" and "Easy" on it, you can see how Lamar's road has led him to where he is now.

But while he loved music growing up, being a DJ was just a dream. But Lamar isn't the kind of person to let cerebral palsy, legal blindness, or anything else hold him back.

He was enthralled by DJs on MTV in the 1980s, and when he saw a movie with a DJ who got everybody on the dance floor, he was hooked.

"And then I was imagining what it would be like if I did it in real life, if I actually done it in public," he remembers. "I had dreams for that. And soon my dreams came true. Done it."

DJ Lamar started by playing small events, like birthday parties at group homes.

It was in the late 1990s that he decided to throw a monthly party for people with physical and mental disabilities.

Now, 22 years later, he's the man in charge of a popular event.

"I feel good about it, and all my friends, all my special friends know about it," he says. "They're all on Facebook. I do have a Facebook page out."

DJ Lamar has a lot of songs at his disposal, and he knows the secret to getting hips swaying and fingers snapping.

"These days, there's a song like by Pink, 'Get This Party Started,'" he says. "That's why I'm Portland's best DJ."

And he has a dream: he wants to DJ a huge party, in a big ballroom, with hundreds of people hitting the dance floor.

"I'm gonna do this as long as I can. I'm not going to quit," he promises. "I'm a fighter. I'm not gonna quit."

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