Disability Unite Festival

Celebrating the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


#DisabilityUnite  #TogetherWereStronger  #CelebratingCommunity

These quotes may be used for bloggers and media.

Blind Boys of Alabama - ‘’I’m not blind, I just can’t see.’’ ‘’A disability doesn’t have to be a handicap.’’ Ricky McKinnie of the Blind Boys of Alabama @blindboysofalabama

John Bramblitt - “My eyesight was taken, but my vision of a world where we all pull together, and that the challenges we face make us stronger as a people is clearer and brighter than ever. After 31 years with the ADA; the future I see today is more beautiful and brilliant than ever before.“ @bramblitt

Lachi - It wasn't until persons with disabilities of all types--whether temporary or permanent, acquired at birth or later in life, whether visible or nonvisible--it wasn't until they formed a true and loud coalition that laws got signed. Judith Heumann's sit-in grew large and vibrant enough to demand the inking of legislation. We need to recreate that vigor, that strength, that varied and diverse, unified voice..." @lachimusic

Wheelchair Sports Camp - "Disability is at the intersection of every intersection!" @wheelchairsportscamp 

4 Wheel City - "When we first made the song “The Movement” advocating for accessibility over a decade ago we had no idea what the ADA was and never heard of it. Fast forward years later we have performed and been part of anniversary celebrations for it all over the country bringing together voices from all spectrums of the disability community. It's all a testament to the will and purposes the ADA was made to represent. As we celebrate its 31 years in 2021 amidst all the unrest in the country it's a perfect example of what unity, change, and inclusion can represent. It's a law that says to all Disabled Lives Matter! We are honored to be included in the legacy and help push it forward 30 more years". @4wheelcity

The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School - "The students and staff of The Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School are very proud to be part of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities celebration of the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As a community music school serving students who are blind or who have low vision, we appreciate the opportunity to perform on a wider (virtual) stage." ‘’The Fil’’ Executive Team "The [Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music] School has been an unsung staple of New York City arts circles for decades, including 20 years of performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art ... " - New York Times, December 20, 2018


The Merry Rockers - a musical message of inclusion. The band is a thriving illustration of art’s powerful ability to bring people together of all backgrounds, ability, colors, and creeds. Through a peer-driven curriculum, the Merry Rockers break down the barriers of disabilities while creating a community that embraces diversity and is fueled by the power of music. Marissa Lelogeais, lead vocalist and songwriter of the Merry Rockers, overcame many life challenges to graduate from the Berklee College of Music. While taking a class on the music and life of Bob Marley, Marissa found that she identified with not only the pounding drums, the rhythmic guitar, and the thumping bass, but also the message of reggae music. Having fought all her life with Cerebral Palsy, learning disabilities, and low vision, Marissa knew what Bob Marley meant when he said, ‘’Get up, stand up. Don’t give up the fight.’’ @merryrockersmusic  

Theater Breaking Through Barriers (New York, NY) - ''In the breadth of human existence, it’s hard to fathom that the ADA is only 31 years old: So young! During this time of extreme division, when our society cries out louder than ever before for complete, systemic equality for all, The Americans With Disabilities Act must be celebrated as a significant and treasured marker toward this ultimate goal. Yet it must also serve as a reminder to all of how far we still must go. The true relevance of the ADA can clearly be measured by the progress that our country has made during these past three decades. As such, it serves as a beacon of light during these darkest of times. May the light it casts continue to shine on and guide us to a safe, accessible, and equitable world of full inclusion for all.'' @theatrebreakingthroughbarriers

Stacey Hengsterman - President and CEO of Special Olympics New York. “For 30 years, the ADA has shined a light on issues impacting people with disabilities, bringing more and more equality and justice where it is deserved. Our work continues, however, and today’s virtual celebration is just the beginning. On behalf of our current and future athletes across New York, we look forward to an ongoing partnership with Commissioner Calise, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Disability Unite." “Special Olympics New York applauds the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for bringing our community Disability Unite, a powerful new tool that will have a lasting impact on our athletes and those who care for them.”

LC Interpreting Services, LLC - “Enacted 31 years ago, the ADA was not an instant solution to systemic oppression or disability discrimination; but it provides an essential toolkit for people to fight for their civil rights whenever necessary. We are so proud to provide accessibility for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing communities by facilitating effective communication access using culturally competent service providers.”

Plain Language Interpretation - “It’s a cognitive ramp enabling people with cognitive disabilities equal and full participation in services and activities that are inaccessible to them.” Said Shira Yalon-Chamovitz, Ph.D., OTR, the Director of the Israeli Institute on Cognitive Accessibility, and Dean of Students at Ono Academic College. My research has concerned adults with cognitive disabilities. I am excited to partner with the Disability Unite Community as user-expert feedback is certain to continue to develop the Yalon Method and impact my research interests which include a range of fields such as practical intelligence, virtual reality, and theoretical models of practice for cognitive accessibility”. 

“The Yalon Method of Simultaneous Plain Language Interpretation opens new areas of discovery. Working together with the disability community, researchers will create increased participation for people with disabilities in society,” said Matt Axel, Disability Unite. The technique of “ "Simultaneous Plain Language Interpretation" called the Yalon Method,  I saw implemented globally during the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Yalon-Chamovitz and her team provided real-time translation into plain language on the broadcast of the Eurovision through a digital video live stream”