On July 14th, the NYC Chapter of the Brain Injury Association and Achilles International marched in the annual New York City Disability Pride Parade.
Here’s the scoop from guest editor and dear friend, Rendy Kowal.
Yesterday there was an awesome celebration down Broadway from Madison Square Park to Union Square Park. We, along with a broad spectrum of the disability community, were happily marching, laughing, chanting, waving, and celebrating at the Pride Parade. For me, it was the best birthday I have had since the onset of my disabling brain injury.
There’s a long, long global history of the marginalization of people living with disabilities. Not so long ago, too many of us were automatically institutionalized just for being disabled—especially those with mental illness, developmental disability, or brain injury. Even now, our lives and obvious (or not so obvious) differences are commonly perceived as defining. But those who know and love us understand that disability cannot and does not pigeon-hole our lives. Like everyone else we are defined by what makes us tick—the challenges we meet, our heart and spirit, sadness, joy, and resilience.
Yes, disability may limit a body’s ability, cognitive agility, or how we navigate the world. But this parade was a show of strength, not limitation. We came together in solidarity, a diverse community celebrating our lives and accomplishments with heartfelt pride. We know that every show of respect for each other is also a show of respect for ourselves and honors us all.
Thank you Marchers and Assisters, Parade Folk and Exhibitors, Participants and all those who came out to cheer us on. We appreciate your effort, no matter how difficult, to come to Madison Square Park on a very, very hot July morning and march in a parade.
See you next year! —Rendy Kowal
July is National Disability Voter Registration Month
Vote as if your life depends on it–because it does!*
There are more than 35 million eligible voters who have a disability–a potentially influential voting bloc if each of us gets involved in the election process and votes. But not enough of us do. So if you haven’t registered to vote yet, don’t put it off!
Contact your local Board of Elections or, for more help, go to the AAPD** VOTER RESOURCE CENTER. Scroll down the page and you’ll see REGISTER: Resources and Tools for Voter Registration. There are links to websites that can help you register (it’s quick), get an absentee ballot, find your polling place, and learn about your rights as a voter with a disability. For a downloadable excerpt from the Voter Resource Page click HERE.
*Justin Dart, Father of the ADA
**American Assoc. of People with Disabilities (aapd.com)