The Disabled: Too Often Ignored

On November 24, many pressing disability issues were discussed at a meeting of the 504 Democratic Club. The 504 Democratic Club is the most vocal and proactive political club advocating for the needs of the disabled in New York City, Long Island and Westchester. As a person with a disability I am thrilled to see the 504, Democratic Club as an advocate for all people who have a disability.

At the meeting, Michael Schweinsberg, Vice President of the 504 Democratic Club, announced that plans are moving forward for a Disability Pride Day NYC Parade scheduled for July 12. Michael is chairing the Planning Committee. The Mayor has committed himself to this event and to the needs of the disabled. NYC governmental staff is working with the committee on strategies and procedures. The reviewing stand and area to organize will be on Madison Avenue from 23 to 26 Street. The parade will go from Madison Square Park to the north section of a Union Square Park. There will be entertainment, information booths and many fun activities at the terminal point in Union Square. All through the area will be accessible portable toilets. The last Disabled a Pride Parade was in 1973. The Disability Pride NYC Committee is asking all groups involved with the disabled, all people with disabilities and all those concerned about the paucity of support for the disabled to participate. Special outreach is being made to our veterans disabled and abled. Mike is the contact person at this. Contact information will be coming shortly.

The Disability Pride NYC Committee is also sponsoring a concert “Jazz Legends for Disability Pride” on January 8 at the Quaker Friends Meeting Hall 15 Rutherford Street in Manhattan. The concert will feature jazz greats like Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Brad Mehldau, Jimmy Cobb, Harold Mabern, George Coleman, Bill Charlap and others. Net proceeds raised will go towards realizing the goals of the parade set for July 12. Funds will be used for the parade and to assist the disabled. For more information please go to Disability Pride NYC web site or

It is my hope that we get a big turnout from the Bronx.

Another issue discussed was how Uber and Lyft are cutting into the number of accessible taxis in New York City. The increase in people using Lyft and Uber rather than medallion taxis can mean fewer taxis able to exist in a very competitive business.

One issue of major concern to the disability community, and one not receiving the attention it needs, is basic access for airplane travel. The airline industry has totally failed to understand and meet the needs of individuals in wheelchairs. Some airlines do allow one or possibly two non-motorized wheelchairs onboard. Motorized wheel chairs sure stored under the airplane body with cargo. Regardless people with disabilities cannot have access to the wheel chaurs during the flight. I asked Edith what people with disabilities ( PWDs) did if they had to use the bathroom. She said that those who could not walk had had been told by airlines to use diapers. I was flabbergasted. I had never before given this thought. Something has to be done. I suggest that all flights have a folding wheel chair available and that a flight attendant be assisted to assist PWDs. To require an adult to wear a diaper is beyond insulting. It dehumanizes our PWDs. I urge all to mail or email or speak to the staff at airlines they use.

I was lucky. The bilateral cochlear implants have corrected to a great degree what was a serious hearing loss. Others are forced to live with their disability for their entire lives. The laws of our nation, states and localities and businesses which serve all need to recognize the needs of PWDs and do everything possible to give tnem the access they need so that they can enjoy life.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email