May 2019 E-News: Busy Bees at DRA

In This Issue

A Letter From the Managing Directors

Hello friends and fans of DRA,

In our last, February, e-newsletter we laid out our plans for the year—providing people with disabilities with safe streets, equal educational opportunities, access to transportation, equal treatment in juvenile detention facilities and more.  We’re proud to report so much activity on all these fronts that we can’t fit it all in this communication!

One critical area where DRA has had profound impact is access to transportation, and this month we will highlight our cases against New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the rideshare company Lyft. Next month, we’ll send you another installment with more victories and cases filed on behalf of sports fans, voters, airport goers, and more. 

We’re committed to keeping you, our donors and supporters, engaged and informed as we march forward in our continued quest for justice.  We were thrilled at the turnout for our Google-hosted friend-raising event in New York and our Advisors’ brown bag lunch in California last month. 

We hope you saw our Spring Appeal—asking for your support to ensure our work continues and, for those of you in the East, we hope you’ll Save the Date and help us identify sponsors for our October 21st gala at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. 

With gratitude and momentum,

Support DRA this Spring

Image: A bee atop a pink flower

What’s all the buzz about? DRA’s offices are busy this spring. As always, your support allows DRA to continue its high-impact legal work. A tax-deductible contribution helps us continue making a difference for people with disabilities across the nation. Thank you to those of you who have given, and please consider making a gift today.

Sponsor DRA’s 2019 Gala!

An eagle made of light, soaring on a redbackground over the buildings of NYC. Text reads "DRA: The Next 25 Years"
Image: An eagle made of light, soaring on a redbackground over the buildings of NYC. Text reads “DRA: The Next 25 Years”

DRA’s 2019 Gala will be held on Monday, October 21 at the American Museum of Natural History. We’ll be celebrating Eagle Awardees and looking ahead to DRA’s next 25 years.  Learn more about the event and become a sponsor today!

Where Disability Rights and Technology Met…at Google

On April 11th, DRA and friends gathered at Google’s New York offices for a special evening of conversation, education, and networking.

Image: Guests excited to begin
Image: Guests excited to begin
Image: DRA staff with big smiles
Image: DRA staff with big smiles
Image: The audience listens intently
Image: The audience listens intently
Image: Sasha Blair-Goldensohn from Google presenting
Image: Sasha Blair-Goldensohn from Google presenting

 

Impact Report

Lyft Sued for Illegally Excluding Bay Area Wheelchair-Users

Wheelchair-user trying to find a ride
Image: Wheelchair-user trying to find a ride

On March 20, DRA filed a class action lawsuit against Lyft, challenging its failure to make its on-demand ridesharing service available to people who need wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the Bay Area, in violation of the ADA. Lyft has been aware for years that it needs to provide wheelchair-accessible service, but has refused to do so. The case is filed on behalf of Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco, Community Resources for Independent Living, and four individual plaintiffs.

Federal Court Issues Landmark Civil Rights Ruling Likely to Lead to More Elevators in the New York City Subway

Inaccessible Entrance for Middletown Road Subway
Image: A stairway leading up to the inaccessible Middletown Road Station

On March 6, Judge Ramos of the Southern District of New York ruled that renovations made by the MTA at a subway station in the Bronx triggered accessibility obligations under the ADA regardless of how much those accessibility improvements cost. The ruling casts a spotlight on MTA’s practice of not installing elevators when it makes renovations to the NYC subway, which is the least accessible major transportation system in the country.

People with Disabilities File Class Action Suit Challenging MTA’s Widespread Discriminatory Renovation Practices

Construction workers in a long, sloped NY subway station
Image: Construction workers in a long, sloped NY subway station

Following on the heels of the decision mentioned above, on May 15 DRA filed a civil rights class action lawsuit against the MTA on behalf of three individual plaintiffs and a broad coalition of disability groups, challenging the MTA’s prevalent, discriminatory practice of renovating NYC subway stations without installing elevators or other stair-free routes in blatant violation of the ADA. 

Passengers With Disabilities Challenge Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Long Island Rail Road’s Refusal To Build Station Elevators

The outside of the Copiague LIRR station.
Image: Outside view of the Copiague LIRR Station

Despite the MTA and LIRR’s touted $5.6 billion modernization program, they have failed to install elevators in several LIRR stations while renovating them. This ADA violation prompted DRA to file suit on April 23, on behalf of Suffolk Independent Living Organization and three LIRR passengers with disabilities that could not utilize LIRR in the neighborhoods in which they live.