United Spinal Celebrates 70 Anniversary

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United Spinal Celebrates 70 Anniversary

united70thThis year marks United Spinal’s 70th Anniversary. What began in 1946 as a small, determined group of World War II veterans advocating for greater civil rights and independence in New York City has grown into the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders across the country.

Take a Closer Look at Accomplishments Over the Years

Back then we were just a few dedicated individuals fighting for accessible housing and public buildings. Who could have imagined 70 years later, we would be advising designers and architects nationwide and crafting accessible building codes and regulations at all levels of government?

Where our founders faced widespread discrimination, United Spinal now successfully advocates to expand civil rights and constitutional protections. From writing parts of the Americans with Disabilities Act to improving wheelchair access in New York City and Philadelphia bus and subway systems, we’ve fought tirelessly to help our members realize a full, productive and rewarding life.

Where we once struggled to educate the public about the needs and concerns of people with disabilities, today we are a leading voice for change — raising awareness across the country and around the world with our educational publications such as Disability Etiquette and our award-winning wheelchair lifestyle magazine New Mobility.

All those years ago it was a challenge simply to understand the variety of issues facing people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders, not to mention finding effective solutions. Today, working alongside community groups, rehab facilities, nonprofits, corporations, and our committed chapters, we are able to make incredible strides to improve the lives of those we serve — engaging thousands of individuals with disabilities and their loved ones annually, offering hope and support when it’s needed the most.

Although times have changed, United Spinal adheres to our founding principle — to provide programs and services that enhance the lives of our members. Today, we celebrate our roots and the hard work of our predecessors, with the hope to continue their tradition of service for years to come.

This photo was found in a folder at the organization’s archives and is believed to be one of the oldest surviving photos of the original founders.

Founding member Robert Moss (center) leads a 1948 demonstration at Grand Central Terminal in New York City for improved health care for paralyzed veterans.

James J. Peters (left), New York City Mayor Ed Koch, and other dignitaries witnessed Governor Mario Cuomo announce a settlement agreement at Grand Central Station in New York City in 1985, resulting from a suit EPVA brought against the Metropolitan Transit Authority to ensure maximum wheelchair accessibility in the city’s public transportation vehicles and stations. The settlement would have a major impact on the drafting of the transportation sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Terence J. Moakley, EPVA’s former associate executive director of Communications and Public Affairs, sports a bus poster that EPVA produced as part of a 1997 campaign to raise public awareness about seating for people with disabilities on New York City’s buses and subways.

United Spinal’s annual Chapter Leadership Meeting has developed into a vibrant conference where SCI leaders share their success stories and help each other brainstorm ways to better serve their local communities. Pictured here are the regional leaders who help oversee United Spinal’s rapidly growing network of over 40 chapters.

United Spinal’s members and staff, including Nick LiBassi, left, and board member Ronnie Raymond, right, were out in full force to celebrate New York City’s Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015.

The 2016 Roll on Capitol Hill drew a new generation of leaders, including Josh Basile, a lawyer recently appointed to United Spinal’s board, and Reveca Torres, director of Backbones and NM’s 2016 Person of the Year.

United Spinal Association joined the Taxis For All Campaign in a 2015 Roll-In to Protest Uber, the ride-sharing app that is under fire for displacing accessible taxis with inaccessible private vehicles.
2017-06-22T23:21:49+00:00Categories: Latest, United Spinal Updates|

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.
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Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.