United Spinal’s members and staff were out in full force to celebrate New York City’s first ever Disability Pride Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
United Spinal marched up Broadway alongside our New York City Chapter and many other advocates and organizations from the around the Metropolitan-area to celebrate disability empowerment.
Among the 3,000 parade participants were people using wheelchairs, canes and service dogs who were dressed in colorful t-shirts waving flags and banners for their individual causes. But all were united in their mission: to raise awareness on disability rights and to call for improvements in accessibility, healthcare and employment.
Former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) served as the parade’s grand marshal and commended the city’s progress toward accessibility but said the high unemployment rate for people with disabilities shows there are still remaining struggles.
“I may be retired from the Senate, but I’m not retired from the fight … we know that when companies hire people with disabilities they get the best workers, the most loyal workers, the most productive workers,” said Harkin, who 25 years ago sponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark civil rights law that aims to ensure equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities.
July is designated as Disability Pride Month in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. New York City has planned a month-long series of events to celebrate New Yorkers with disabilities, including an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society titled “Gaining Access: The New York City Disability Rights Movement.” It‘s the first museum exhibition about the New York City Disability Rights Movement.
The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at 128 Pierrepont Street (at the intersection with Clinton Street) in Brooklyn Heights. It is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 pm. Suggested admission is $10; admission is free on Fridays to people with disabilities.
Here at United Spinal Association, we take up the fight every day to strengthen the rights of our members and the entire disability community. Please take some time to support and promote disability rights and the ADA this month!