DRA Establishes Edith Prentiss Disability Justice Award

Edith Prentiss in a wheelchair at the bottom of a staircase preventing access to FDR Four Freedoms Park, NYC
Image: Edith Prentiss in a wheelchair at the bottom of a staircase preventing access to FDR Four Freedoms Park, NYC (via Joe Rappaport)


To carry forward the critical legacy of fiery, grassroots disability justice advocates in New York and across the Country

April 15, 2021—New York, NY—Today Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) announced, with support from the Prentiss family, the establishment of the Edith Prentiss Disability Justice Award, to be bestowed annually on a disability justice advocate who demonstrates the same fire, passion, knowledge, and relentlessness that made Edith Prentiss such an impactful voice for people with disabilities.

“We’re so happy that Edith’s advocacy for people with disabilities will live on through this award,” said Andrew Prentiss. “It’s critically important that we inspire and recognize future generations of disability advocates to fight for what is right.”

DRA, a national non-profit legal center, came to know Ms. Prentiss as the organization established its New York office in 2010. DRA’s civil rights attorneys quickly recognized Ms. Prentiss as a fearless and generous leader in the disability community and partnered with her to break down illegal, systemic barriers preventing New Yorkers with disabilities from equal participation.

DRA Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Rodgers recalls working with Edith in DRA New York’s early years: “I remember coming to DRA and working with Edith on taxi accessibility. She galvanized the community to support civil rights for people with disabilities at every turn.”

With Ms. Prentiss and other vocal New York advocates leading the charge, DRA has worked to secure precedent-setting legal victories that have transformed the landscape for people with disabilities, including requiring accessible taxi cabs, establishing a disability-inclusive emergency preparedness plan, ensuring captioning in theatres and access to polling places, and the list goes on.

Kathy Martinez, President & CEO of Disability Rights Advocates, said, “DRA is proud to collaborate with unstoppable advocates like Edith. We look forward to partnering with the community to identify and honor individuals who fight for disability justice with grit and persistence. And we look forward to continuing to represent all of the fierce disability rights advocates to bring lasting systemic equality.”

DRA will honor the first Edith Prentiss Disability Justice awardee at their virtual gala on October 7th, 2021.

About DRA

With offices in New York and California, Disability Rights Advocates is one of the leading nonprofit disability rights legal centers in the nation. Its mission is to advance equal rights and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. DRA represents people with all types of disabilities in complex, system-changing, class action cases. DRA is proud to have upheld the promise of the ADA since our inception. Thanks to DRA’s precedent-setting work, people with disabilities across the country have dramatically improved access to education, health care, employment, transportation, disaster preparedness planning, voting, and housing. For more information, visit www.dralegal.org.


Chris Maccarone cmaccarone@dralegal.org 510-655-8644