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New York City Disability Pride Parade

Being part of the 5th New York City Disability Pride Parade on a sweltering day was a wonderful experience.   Flight delays meant I had little time to orientate myself so felt very fortunate to arrive at Madison Square Park ahead of time.  I knew no one but quickly felt at home – disabled rights are universal!

My preregistration material told me I was allocated to Section E with individuals and families however it didn’t take me long to spot a Deaf group linked with an interpreting agency, ALL HANDS IN MOTION, who welcomed me into Section C.    As we waited for the start time there were some entertainers moving around raising people’s spirits.    At 10am on the dot Section A lead the way to Union Square walking along Broadway with the remaining sections following in due course.  I understand there were over 2000 people marching.

There was a lot of creativity in people’s costumes and sign messages.   Wheelchairs became police cars, eagles and a whole lot of things besides.   Groups from service and community organisations gathered using t-shirts to identify themselves and to make strong statements about disability pride and disability rights.  Many included political messages. 

Groups carried banners as they marched.  Roads were blocked off at intersections, I was told they were all particularly busy intersections so for New York to allow so many roads to be closed off was quite something to see.   There were not a lot of spectators but that didn’t matter, the spirit of the parade was strong.  There were photographers everywhere.  At the halfway point there were judges assessing people’s costumes.

The pace was very comfortable.  There were lots of stops but everyone was orderly.   The Deaf group had to be reminded constantly to stay behind the banner for the interpreting agency – had to maximise photo opportunities!  

Finally, we reached Union Square for the Disability Pride Festival where multiple stalls were set up promoting ….   And more importantly, two marquees were set up to provide shelter from the sun as we watched the speeches and listened to music from a variety of musicians and singers.   It was an accessible event for sure, with American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters not being my language I had the option of reading the English text on a screen in the marquee.   All the speeches and songs were uplifting and celebratory while also reminding us that our work is not done, there is more to fight for but we can do this with pride in ourselves.  

Photos: 

A selfie of Rachel in the parade with the Empire State Building in the background
A selfie of Rachel in the parade with the Empire State Building in the background
Three signs from SAF AFTRA with rainbow colours. All three say Union Proud, Union Strong – then in hand writing was Disability Rights, Support Human Rights, and Inclusion.
Three signs from SAF AFTRA with rainbow colours. All three say Union Proud, Union Strong – then in hand writing was Disability Rights, Support Human Rights, and Inclusion.
Woman with a white t-shirt with a sign saying ‘nothing about us without us’ with the last two words highlighted in read. The picture on the sign shows people with speech bubbles saying ‘my voice matters, ‘your voice matters’, ‘our choice matters’
Four people holding the ALL HANDS IN MOTION banner
Woman with a white t-shirt with a sign saying ‘nothing about us without us’ with the last two words highlighted in read. The picture on the sign shows people with speech bubbles saying ‘my voice matters, ‘your voice matters’, ‘our choice matters’
Woman with a white t-shirt with a sign saying ‘nothing about us without us’ with the last two words highlighted in read. The picture on the sign shows people with speech bubbles saying ‘my voice matters, ‘your voice matters’, ‘our choice matters’
Two young men sitting on chairs seen from behind. They are both wearing navy blue t-shirts with PROUD TO BE ME printed.
Two young men sitting on chairs seen from behind. They are both wearing navy blue t-shirts with PROUD TO BE ME printed.
Crowd shot in the marquee, the stage can be seen to the side, colourful balloons to the right. On the screen are the written words being spoken – the text reads:  TSZ: where we’re coming from, ours is not the pride of flag waving Americans.  Ours is the pride of the oppressed, of those who have been made to feel ashamed of who we are; of those who have been made to feel they don’t (words can’t be seen behind a persons head)… ose who have been made
Crowd shot in the marquee, the stage can be seen to the side, colourful balloons to the right. On the screen are the written words being spoken – the text reads:  TSZ: where we’re coming from, ours is not the pride of flag waving Americans.  Ours is the pride of the oppressed, of those who have been made to feel ashamed of who we are; of those who have been made to feel they don’t (words can’t be seen behind a persons head)… ose who have been made
Similar shot with words saying: going to enjoy ourselves today, we’re going to have a good time, so many people still insist in believing our lives are sad and pitiful. So we must make sure we do not internalise any of that negativity.  It is (head in the way) us to enjoy as much as we (can’t read more)
Similar shot with words saying: going to enjoy ourselves today, we’re going to have a good time, so many people still insist in believing our lives are sad and pitiful. So we must make sure we do not internalise any of that negativity.  It is (head in the way) us to enjoy as much as we (can’t read more)

 

Links:

https://www.workers.org/2019/07/25/led-by-disability-rights-pioneer-nadina-laspina-disability-pride-parade-rocks-nyc-for-fifth-consecutive-year/?fbclid=IwAR3SYywKklsGBcVoEvbdXtprt15f9Wh2grL-4McO3BgmEK9zuf-0qdx4fVs

New York City Disability Pride Parade

 
 
 
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