NYC Comptroller Lander Tackles Accessibility Issues From Harlem To Hollis In Disability Justice Roundtable

July 24, 2023

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander hosted a disability justice roundtable earlier this week at his office in 1 Centre Street to address accessibility concerns in New York City.

The inaugural roundtable brought advocates and organizations together to discuss the various intersectional adversities faced within disability communities. 

“As the City’s Chief Accountability Officer, our office must actively advocate for the disabled community and hold City agencies accountable where they fall short. Engaging in meaningful conversation and building strong relationships is the first step as we strive to create a more inclusive City, and I look forward to using the tools of this office to make sure all New Yorkers receive the support and services they need,” said Comptroller Brad Lander.

“I’m excited to finally bring disability advocates to the forefront of shaping a more just and equitable New York City. These roundtables will allow our office to directly hear from my community, gaining vital insight to effectively address the unique needs and concerns of people with disabilities. Our continued collaboration with advocates will help build a city that is accessible to all New Yorkers,” said Nicholas Astor, Constituency Liaison for People with Disabilities at the Comptroller’s Office.

During the roundtable, participants highlighted the need for clearer express bus times on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) app and improving bus drivers’ lift operation training. They also discussed the challenges that would arise if the MTA reduces stops on regular bus routes, which increases walking distance for people with mobility issues. 

Participants also discussed strategies for increasing the hiring of disabled individuals across City agencies, as well as the importance of expanding bias training to foster a more inclusive environment. By actively addressing these critical areas, the roundtable aimed to advance disability justice and create a more supportive and inclusive City for everyone.

Several notable disability advocates and organizations attended the inaugural discussion, including advocates and representatives from the New York City Office of the Public Advocate, New York City Department of Transportation, Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York, Staten Island Center for Independent Living, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Harlem Independent Living Center, AHRC New York City, Hearing Loss Association of America, 504 Democratic Club, INCLUDEnyc, Brooklyn Center for Independence, Advocacy Initiatives, CUNY School of Professional Studies, Verona Carpenter Architects, Disability Rights Advocates, Young Adult Institute, Bronx Independent Living Services, ADAPT Community Network, Housing Campaigns, Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), Greater New York Council of the Blind, Caring Majority, National Federation of the Blind in New York City, and One Heart One Vision.

Moving forward, the Comptroller’s Office’s Constituency Liaison for People with Disabilities plans to organize disability justice roundtables with advocates on a quarterly basis.

This was a great start to a beautiful partnership with the Comptroller and other Disability Rights and Disability Justice advocates.

“This was a great start to a beautiful partnership with the Comptroller and other Disability Rights and Disability Justice advocates. Participating in the Disability Roundtable with Comptroller Brad Lander proved that he is committed to true equity for all New Yorkers with Disabilities, just as the Harlem Independent Living Center strives to do the same in Harlem. Both of our offices are extremely committed to assisting people with disabilities to get services and to assist the city with its ever-evolving plans on accessibility around our wonderful community and NYC. We look forward to this partnership and we look forward to doing many, many more events like this with the Comptroller’s office,” said Eman Rimawi-Doster, Executive Director of the Harlem Independent Living Center.

“The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) was pleased to participate in the New York City Office of the Comptroller’s Disability Roundtable to connect with the disability community. We discussed the need for comprehensive reform regarding employment, housing, and transportation for people with disabilities. CIDNY recognizes that one meeting cannot fix the systemic barriers faced by people with disabilities living in New York City. This was a beginning step to a larger conversation and plan to address these barriers to the full independence for people with disabilities. We look forward to partnering with this office and working together,” said Sharon McLennon-Wier, Ph.D., MSEd., CRC, LMHC, Executive Director for CIDNY.

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