Disability Unite Festival

Celebrating the 34th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act


#DisabilityUnite  #TogetherWereStronger  #CelebratingCommunity
Instagram: @disabilityunite 
Facebook: Disability Unite 
Twitter: @Access4_All 
Youtube: @DisabilityUnite 
Links to remember and share
Festival registration form 
Disability Unite website (with Livestream Center) 



July 8, 2024


Matt Axel,, 718-928-5775


Commemorating the 34th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Disability Unite

Festival will promote pride and advocacy and embrace inclusion on every level.

New York, NY — Project Access for All with the NYC Commission on Human Rights presents the fifth annual Disability Unite Festival, celebrating disability pride and marking the 34th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Sunday, July 14, 2024, at the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and virtually at the Live Stream Center. The Disability Unite Festival is about community and inclusion of all people around the world. With an in-person festival alongside a virtual one, the festival this year can be enjoyed by everyone around the world. The in-person festival will feature 44 tables of community groups while the virtual festival will consist of live-streaming performances from the festival by world-renowned recording artists giving virtual attendees the same experience as those in-person.

With this year’s theme “Championing Change: Past, Present, Future”, the overall goal is to celebrate the change-makers who have brought the disability rights movement to where it is today, and continue to advocate for the change we have yet to realize. The festival is a disability community-driven event, for the community by the community, bringing together advocates and experts from around the country teaching best practices on disability access and inclusion. Organizations such as Art Beyond Sight, 504 Democratic Club, Center for Independence of the Disabled NY (CIDNY), INCLUDEnyc, and others will come together at the festival to learn innovative solutions from each other on disability rights and access inclusion.

Matthew Axel, Founder of Project Access for All’s Disability Unite Festival said “With 11% of the population of New York City identifying as a person with a disability, the Disability Unite Festival brings together families from around the country for a day of fun and celebration. Project Access for All continues to advocate enhancing equity for people with disabilities in the fields of arts and culture, sports and recreation, entertainment and business.”

“The New York City Commission on Human Rights is honored to once again partner with Project Access for All for the Disability Unite Festival. So much of the Commission’s work focuses on making our city more livable and accessible for all. The Disability Unite Festival is a wonderful artistic celebration that centers and provides resources to New Yorkers identifying as a person with a disability,” said Annabel Palma, Commissioner and Chair for the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

The artists performing live at the Naumburg Bandshell are as follows:

  • Wawa’s World | Warren “Wawa” Snipe an acclaimed Hip Hop Recording Artist hailing from the DC/MD/VA area, has been making music with an insatiable drive since he first picked up the mic in 2005. His charismatic and diligent persona and genre, "Dip Hop" (Hip Hop through deaf eyes), has garnered critical reception and positive acclaim over the past 15+ years. This unique sound of audio and imagery has helped WAWA develop a growing fanbase and has landed him many opportunities on stage, in the studio, and within the music industry. 
  • James Ian | James Ian is a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, poet, and writer. He has Spinal Muscular Atrophy ("SMA") Type 3, and is a passionate advocate for authentic representation of disabled actors in music, TV, film, and other media. James recently sang at the Closing Ceremony of the Special Olympics. He is the singer and primary songwriter of "SPACES," which is a first-of-its-kind song that highlights those living with SMA. "SPACES" has won over twenty-five PR industry awards and music awards.
  • Disability Hip Hop Jam Featuring 4 Wheel City & Friends | 4 Wheel City Foundation, spearheaded by Namel “Tapwaterz” Norris and Ricardo “Rickfire” Velasquez, distinguished wheelchair users due to spinal cord injuries, is at the forefront of advocating for disability rights and social change through music. The Disability Pride Month Hip Hop Jam embodies a spirit of acceptance, inclusion, and awareness, shedding light on the contributions of disabled artists to the hip hop community. Namel and Ricardo, known for their empowering music, have utilized hip hop as a powerful tool to raise consciousness on accessibility, discrimination, and resilience. Through their personal journey, 4 Wheel City exemplifies how hip hop can drive conversations and facilitate change.


These quotes may be used for bloggers and media.

Wawa’s World - "Accepting disability is not about tolerating differences. It’s about celebrating the unique ability that each individual possesses."

Wawa’s World - "It’s the 21st century. And the time is now for total inclusion."

James Ian - "I want nondisabled people to see that our lives are desirable. I want them to see me as desirable romantically. See me as someone that you’d want to hire. See me as someone that could be the CEO of an organization or a company. Or see me as a multi-platinum music artist or a Grammy-winning artist. That’s what I want nondisabled people to see disabled people as because we do that and we can do that."

James Ian- “I just really want to drive the point home that there is so much diversity in disability and so much talent and creativity and love in the community. And I just really want people with disabilities to have the opportunities to follow their dreams. That’s huge for me.”

4 Wheel City "Where I'm from, there are a lot of hills and there are a lot of places I can't go. There are still buildings where I can't get in because they've got steps. But overall, it's good. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, we are being more accepted. Having a disability, people still look at you weird, but it's like, 'Alright. He's got a disability, but it's kind of okay now.'"

4 Wheel City - “Our song 'Mainstream' is based on our goal "Disable Poverty by 2025. [Our] movement began as a song, and our next step is to get the changemakers on Capitol Hill behind it. People who can make change in legislation need to hear from people in wheelchairs, not just us two, but everybody. We can serve as a voice for our people, but that’s not enough. Everyone needs to get involved.”

“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.”


About Project Access for All
Project Access for All was launched nationally in 2010 with a Working Group of the Obama Administration and is currently an "umbrella" community consortium for disability rights organizations in NYC and across the nation.
Project AccessNYC was launched on August 9, 2011 at Gracie Mansion by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Matt Sapolin. Commissioner Sapolin was a founder and one of the first Project AccessNYC Co-Chairs. Project Access is coordinated by Art Beyond Sight.

About Disability Unite
Disability Unite is an initiative of Project Access For All. While the platform is called "Disability Unite", we acknowledge and respect that the disability community represents a broad cross-section of groups, communities, and individuals identified by race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, age, or disability status. Each individual/group will have different opinions and has the unconditional right to advocate in whatever way they prefer.