Third annual New York City Disability Pride Parade
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New York, NY – New York celebrated the third annual Disability Pride with a colorful parade, marching from Union Square Park to Madison Square Park on July 9, 2017. The event promotes inclusion, awareness, and visibility of people with disabilities, and redefine public perception of disability by participating in an annual Disability Pride parade in New York City and to show support and solidarity with people with disabilities. This year ‘Speechless’ Actor Micah Fowler was the Grand Marshall at the 2017 Disability Pride NYC Parade
| ‘Speechless’ Actor Micah Fowler was the Grand Marshall at the 2017 Disability Pride NYC Parade
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On Valentines Day 2004, Mike and his wife, Margaret, had a daughter – Mary. She was born with a very rare syndrome called Prader-Willi and was also diagnosed with hydrocephalus. Through her, Mike and Margaret started to learn what life is like for a person with disabilities. They began to see the misperceptions and injustices surrounding this group of people. In 2012, through his love for his daughter, Mike started the wheels in motion towards creating Disability Pride Day in New York City, which would be an annual event like any other ethnic parade in the city. After 4 years of hard work and dedication, Disability Pride NYC is up and running as a bonafide non profit organization, and the first parade will take place on July 12 2015, which is also the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.
While the signing of the ADA placed immediate legislative demands to ensure equal access and equal treatment of people with disabilities, deep-rooted assumptions and stereotypical biases were not instantly transformed with the stroke of a pen. People with disabilities still face prejudice and bias with the stereotypical portrayal of people with disabilities in the movies and in the media, physical barriers to schools, housing and to voting stations, and lack of affordable health care. The promise of the ADA is yet to be fully realized, but the disability rights movement continues to make great strides towards the empowerment and self-determination of Americans with disabilities.
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Mike LeDonne, creator of Disability Pride NYC is a world renowned jazz pianist and Hammond organist. Oscar Peterson named him as one of his favorite pianists of this era. Since moving to New York City in 1978 he has worked with a wide spectrum of Jazz greats from Benny Goodman to Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson and many others. He spent 11 years as pianist and musical director for vibes legend Milt Jackson, and has been working with Benny Golson since 1997. He was nominated for “Best Keyboards” 2012 by the Jazz Journalists Association and won the Downbeat Critic’s Poll as “Rising Star” on organ that same year. Mike’s on over 100 recordings and has 18 out under his own name. He also spent 4 years on the faculty at Juilliard. He left Juilliard to continue playing, recording and touring around the world.
“My 10 year old daughter Mary was born with a rare syndrome that left her with multiple disabilities. It is through her that I became aware of the truth about what being disabled means. Even though she faces different challenges because of her disabilities she is the most beautiful creature on God’s green earth. It’s through my love for her that I started to want the rest of the world to see what I see and know what I know. One day a few years back, right after NYC celebrated Gay Pride Day, I asked myself why there isn’t a Disability Pride Day? Little did I know at the time that Disability Pride was already a national movement and an international one as well. I found that Chicago and other places already had a parade but not New York City? That just seemed wrong so I started making calls and taking it one step at a time learning as I went. I’m glad to say that we now have a 501(c)(3) non profit called Disability Pride NYC. We’re planning our first parade for July 2015. I’m hoping for a big party that not only celebrates people with disabilities but includes all people. A day to reject able-ism and worn-out stereotypes and replace them with a feeling of pride in who and what people with disabilities really are – just another diverse and beautiful aspect of humanity.” Mike LeDonne – Founder, President/CEO
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© Erik McGregor – firstname.lastname@example.org – 917-225-8963