Disability civil rights law has taken center stage at the Democratic National Convention. It is time that New York City puts disability civil rights at the forefront of its agenda, according to leading disability rights organizations in New York City. As Mayor De Blasio and New York City prepare to celebrate the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at a Gracie Mansion event, the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) released a critical assessment of how the City has done to date in complying with the Act’s standards. The City has a long way to go according to the report, ADA at 26 in New York City.
CIDNY and DRA are asking the Mayor and the City Council to make compliance with the ADA a priority. This is the year to audit and create schedules for remedies and public reporting mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability.
In looking at the status of people with disabilities in New York City, CIDNY and DRA found New York City lacking in providing equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities. The City lags behind the nation on many benchmarks of equality, including in education, employment, transportation, housing, health care access, and website access.
Based on statistics gathered for CIDNY’s 2015 report on the status of people with disabilities, ADA at 25: Many Bridges to Cross, and with the lack of progress on issues brought before federal court by DRA and CIDNY – the new assessment finds New York City still lagging on accessibility behind most of the rest of the country.
According to CIDNY’s Executive Director Susan Dooha, “We’ve worked with the City for over 37 years to try to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Here we are, 26 years after the passage of the ADA, waiting to vote at polling sites, navigate city streets safely, use the subway, access health care services, live in accessible, affordable housing, and access public education so that we can get an education and have a chance at good jobs. The City needs to get on track with the nation. It needs a specific plan to make the promise of the ADA a reality.”
Sid Wolinsky of DRA adds, “New York City continues to be one of the least hospitable major cities in America for men, women, and children with disabilities. The present administration spends taxpayer dollars on glossy reports with little substance. Yet, the City does not tackle the critical needs of disabled citizens created by inaccessible subways, defective and nonexistent curb cuts, a Uber taxi fleet that excludes people with disabilities, the exclusion of disabled children from their public schools, inaccessible police stations, and a host of other barriers faced by people with disabilities who simply want to participate in the life of the city.”
A copy of the report, ADA at 26 in New York City, is available below.