Becca Beberaggi

The NYC Disability Pride Parade is an annual celebration that began in 2015 to honor the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Now closing in on its 29th Anniversary, the Parade continues to remember the struggles, celebrates the achievements, and reminds the community that much has yet to be done in the struggle for equal access, opportunity, and inclusion in all aspects for all walks of life.

The act, passed by Congress in 1990, is “the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.”

This year Bushwick’s Community Education Council for District 32 is celebrating Disability Pride in conjunction with the Department of Education’s (DOE) by adopting the theme “Disability Rights Are Civil Rights,” for a Disability Pride Parade Visual Art Contest, which will be expanding awareness to children who live with disabilities.

By recognizing that art is an invaluable means of expression and communication, this year teachers are encouraged to engage their students in developing visual representations of this year’s theme. Teachers and their students are asked to join the DOE in commemorating and honoring the NYC disability community through participation in the art contest and the Disability Pride Parade in July 2019.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The contest is overseen by the Special Education Office and the District 75 Office of the DOE. The selection committee is comprised of representatives of the disability community, from various community-based organizations as well as former NYC DOE students and representatives from the Special Education Office and District 75 offices. It is open to grades Pre-K to 12 and the pieces of art are judged on representation of the theme (60 percent), originality (30 percent), and technical skill (10 percent).

Ten finalists will have their artwork displayed in DOE Central Offices and at the NYC DOE booth during the Disability Pride Parade. Finalists and their families will be invited to a special reception. One grand finalist will have their image used on posters and flyers to advertise the Disability Pride Parade.

Committed to ensuring that every student is seen and accepted for who they are, the DOE has consistently extended the values that all children and their families should feel confident and have equal access to an excellent education within New York City school system.

“This project is important because it is a reminder of how much is yet to be done in the movement for equal access opportunities and inclusion in all aspects of life for people with disabilities,” said Member Desines Rodriguez, the Council’s IEP Representative.

Cover image courtesy of Bushwick Community Education Council for District 32.

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