On Sunday, Human Rights Watch marched in the 5th annual Disability Pride Parade in New York City, alongside thousands of people with disabilities, disabled persons organizations, companies, local politicians, and others. The participants marched for inclusion, awareness, visibility, and a dignified perception of disability, and to encourage New Yorkers to view people with disabilities through a lens of pride rather than charity.
Over 120 organizations marched in New York City representing people with physical and sensory disabilities, psychosocial disabilities, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and more. It was a rare opportunity for New York City’s disability community to come together, as public and private spaces in the city remain largely inaccessible to many people with different types of disabilities.
New York subways are tricky terrain with few elevators. Street and subway signs are not accessible for people with visual disabilities, and too few crosswalks have audible signals. Disability Pride Parade organizers provided reasonable accommodations such as sign language interpretation, text description of maps, live transcription (CART) services, a wheelchair accessible parade route, wheelchair accessible restrooms, and more, making the parade accessible and inclusive for all participants.
People with disabilities are active members of society who regard their disability as part of their identity. Sunday’s Pride Parade brought people together to celebrate that the city was accessible and inclusive for one day. Now, New York City should improve accessibility and make this something to celebrate every day.