Brooklynites kicked off Disability Pride Month with an educational, welcoming celebration at Brooklyn Borough Hall on July 11.
The celebration, led by Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and disability rights coalition Disability Unite included a sign language performance by Kimberly Sue and Melody Oramas of the song “Fight Song” by singer Rachel Platten and a 45-minute disability inclusion training course led by Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled.
The inclusion training session — which was accompanied by ASL interpretation and transcription — focused on creating an understanding of the needs and cultures of different parts of the disability community, as well as creating an inclusive, welcoming space for people with disabilities.
“We talk about how New York is a melting pot of people and cultures, but New York is also a mix of people of different mental and physical abilities,” Reynoso said to the crowd on July 11. “This diversity in people of different abilities is part of what makes our city as great as we are, and we should always be creating and fostering inclusivity at every turn for every single person who calls this city home. I’m grateful to join with Disability Unite to celebrate our borough’s diverse, beautiful, and powerful disability community and practice how we can show up as allies to build a better city for all.”
Disability Pride Month celebrates the passage of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed by then-president George H.W. Bush in July 1990. The law prohibits discrimination based on disability, and created regulations to force local governments to implement accessibility measures in public spaces like subway stations.
Remarks during the celebration were delivered by disability rights leaders and elected officials including Disability Unite Founder Matt Axel, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Christina Curry, Council Member Shahana Hanif and more. Hanif, who represents District 39, has been open about her lupus diagnosis and disability justice. In a May opinion piece in Brooklyn Paper’s sister paper amNewYork, the rep wrote that the difficulty of living with lupus has given her the courage to fight for accessible transit, healthcare, and more.
“Never before has city government across all five boroughs partnered with the disability community in such a way, to share a message of unity, advocacy, and pride,” said Axel. “By hosting this borough-wide celebration, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso not only welcomes people with disabilities with open arms but takes real action demonstrating his commitment to achieve accessibility and inclusion for all New Yorkers.”