By Executive Director, Mel Tanzman
July 26th was the twenty fifth anniversary and around the nation we celebrated, commemorated and most importantly rededicated ourselves to the principles of civil rights, independent living and greater opportunity for people with disabilities.
I joined over three thousand marchers on July 12th for New York City’s Disability Pride March. Listening to former Senator Tom Harkin not only praise the advances in our country since 1990 but also noting where we have promises unfulfilled: Particularly in the areas of economic self-sufficiency; almost 70% of working aged Americans with disabilities are unemployed; and Independent Living, too many people remain in institutional setting. Talented musical artists with disabilities strutted their stuff and spirited marchers held banners, sang and chanted on the march route.
Westchester’s Disability Rights movement held our own celebration by premiering our own short film: ADA 25 Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, highlighting the lives of a diverse group of people with disabilities, their victories, their barriers and their hopes for tomorrow. Check out this marvelous film on our web site: www.wdom.org.
Finally, as a student of history, I visited the Brooklyn Historical Society’s exhibit called “Gaining Access: The New York City Disability Rights Movement” which will be on display through October. The displcay shows the historical struggles for civil rights from the 1940’s to the present. I am proud to be a small part of this movement whose voice became part of the Disabled in Action Singers. Some of our recordings became the soundtrack of a slide show that is part of the exhibit. From parking restrictions and gas rationing to current struggles for accessible taxis and audible pedestrian signals, we continue to organize and seek equality. How about You? To quote an old saying “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem” Contact us to learn how to become actively involved.
The Brooklyn Historical Society is located at:
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
To listen to the DIA Singers two CDs and to order your own copy go to