Disability Unite Festival

Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
and the 50th Anniversary of Disabled In Action


#DisabilityUnite  #TogetherWereStronger  #CelebratingCommunity

These quotes may be used for bloggers and media.

Ali Stroker - "The disabled community will thrive in the next 30 years. We will make a change and we will create the world we need to be free.  Join the Disability Unite Community as an ally and help us create our vision. Access and Equality for all! Turn your limitations into your opportunities!" @alistroker

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

Corey Hill - “If you walk… people will look. If you talk… people will listen… If you sing and dance… people will join in. If you keep going… people will follow!” Here’s to another 30 more years of the ADA...leading the way!'' @coreyhillnyc

Bree Klauser - from Bree Klauser (Actress/musician/voice-artist) performing with Dan Kessler in the new musical collaboration “Kismet Trainwreck”
“ I am so honored to be a part of this event for Disability Unite. As an artist with born low vision/legally blind my goal is to provide accurate and authentic representation for people with disabilities in all forms of media. I am so fortunate that the ADA has been active all of my life. If it weren’t for the many PWD’s and allies who fought before me, I wouldn't be able to live in a world where I can pursue my career in the entertainment industry. We thank the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for bringing our community together. It is my hope that we all continue to not only fight for the basic civil rights of persons with disabilities but also continue to push the barriers and perceptions of those living with disabilities and allow us to be visible in the media and have our voices be heard.” @breeklauser

Deaf West - “Deaf West is honored to be included in this year’s Disability Unite Festival. We celebrate the recent gains made by the ADA and look forward to the continued upward progress of the disability community.” (DJ Kurs, Artistic Director) @deafwest

Gaelynn Lea - "I am honored to be included in this amazing online festival with such an awesome line-up. I want the world to see that not only do disabled people have the same human rights as any other group, but that disability culture is vibrant, thriving, and makes the world a richer, more diverse, and beautiful place." @gaelynnlea

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 30 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 that'll keep Washington's ink flowing for thirty times thirty more years and beyond." @lachimusic

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

Ryan Niemiller - “It was my honor to participate in Disability Unite this year. Advocacy has always been important to me, and it’s nice to see that there are more like-minded individuals who are tired of waiting for someone else to make change but rather trying to make the change themselves. On America’s Got Talent, I was able to tell my story the way I wanted to and to show the world that just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you can’t still get stuff done. The work being done is important, and I am glad to have a small part in it.” @CrippleThreat8 

Rollettes - While we celebrate how far we have come in the last 30 years, it is as important as ever to continue to shine light on the areas where improvement is still needed. Our community is the only minority group that anyone can become a member of at any point in their life. Because of this, we strive for inclusion and representation for everyone regardless of ability so that future generations can move equally on the pursuit of happiness and mental, physical, and emotional boundlessness. @Rollettes_LA

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 30 years in 2020 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

Actionplay - from Sara Morgulis, Director of Programs, “As an organization that is dedicated to providing equal access to arts, education, and culture, Actionplay is thrilled to participate in ‘Disability Unite’. By providing training programs and employment to Disabled cultural workers and artists, we are passionate about creating a community and network of Disabled talent. The individuality of our young Actionplay Chorus performers shines through in their performances, and we are proud to take part in an event that celebrates the power of Disabled artists.'' @actionplayarts

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 30th 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

Full Radius Dance (Atlanta, GA) - “To be among such esteemed company in this celebration of the 30th anniversary of the ADA is an honor. The creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience of the Disability Community is unparalleled and we are proud to be members of it.” @fullradiusdance

Gha’ il Rhodes Benjamin - Spoken-word/Performance Artist of Talkingpoems and Storytelling Productions presents GlobaLibations. “We can tell that we’re alive because of the heart in the center of our anatomy that counts its own rhythm daily, right from the center of our being... If we touch it ….we can feel it rushing to make the next beat ….if we intuit it we discover pure emotion……. If we value it…..we value life itself. As an ally of family and friends with disabilities, I’m proud to be standing, sitting, walking, mobilizing with such a courageous force of individuals in 2020 Disability Unite. 

Zazal-Chavah O’Garra - from Jose Hernandez-NYC Advocacy Coordinator, President, NYC Chapter United Spinal Chord Association “The Americans with Disabilities Act brings freedom to me. Since the passage of the ADA accessibility is a requirement and no longer an option bringing more freedom to individuals with disabilities. Let’s continue to expand the reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act for the next 30 years and beyond. “As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must acknowledge more must always be done to increase equity for disabled people. I’m grateful that we, as disabled as disabled artists, can use our skills and talents to continue to move toward sustainable change.'' @zcodanceproject

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 30 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

Mindy Scheier - CEO/Founder Runway of Dreams Foundation and Gamut Management ‘’ I’m excited to connect with the Disability Unite community.  Any opportunity I get to talk about our amazing mission with Runway of Dreams and Gamut Management is such an honor.  Our work with both organizations continues to move the needle on the business opportunity that is focusing on inclusion of the community of the people with disabilities across all industries and in particular, Fashion.   Together, we can use our platforms to amplify the voices of the largest minority in the world.” @runwayofdreams @gamutmanagement

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 30 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”