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July 11, 2017

NYSID Members Walk the Walk in NYC’s Disability Pride Parade

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:54 pm

New York City proudly continued its celebration of disability rights and inclusion with New York City’s 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade, and Spectrum Designs Foundation played a prominent role in the inspirational event.

Pictured l-r: Tim Howe, Kevin Lanese, Kathleen Lanese and Brendan Lanese represent Spectrum Designs Foundation during New York City’s 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade

The NYSID member agency has provided the t-shirts since the Disability Pride Parade began in 2015, according to Tim Howe, chief operating officer of Spectrum Designs Foundation.

“Over the years, the number of shirts we provide has varied from 300 to 500, as the parade has grown and rapidly expanded each year,” he said. “The most important element, for us, is a short phrase on the back of every shirt that reads, ‘Shirts Printed by Proud Adults with Disabilities at Spectrum Designs.’” This year’s t-shirts also contain the slogan, “Don’t Hide the Pride” and “NYC Disability Pride Parade.”

The Disability Pride Parade is a collaboration between the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and Disability Pride NYC. Participants marched on July 9 from Union Square Park to Madison Square Park, with an excellent lineup of music, great food and informational resources available.

Several NYSID member agencies participated as marchers, including: AHRC New York CityBrooklyn Community ServicesContemporary Guidance Services, Inc.FedcapGoodwill Industries of Greater New York & Northern New Jersey, Inc.Lifespire; Spectrum Designs; The Viscardi Center, Inc.; and YAI.

Fedcap, The Viscardi Center and YAI also served as sponsors.

Josh from Spectrum Designs is all smiles as he holds the t-shirt designed by the agency for New York City's 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade

The t-shirts are counted and sorted when they arrive at Spectrum from the supplier, then printed front and back,  neck tagged, hang tagged and boxed for shipping. During a typical shift pattern, six to eight employees with disabilities work on the shop floor at a time, and multiple individuals take over jobs as the day progresses, which means 12-14 employees with disabilities work on the t-shirts throughout the course of the job.

“The idea of disability pride sits at the core of everything we do,” Howe said. “Every time we showcase a difficult, detailed design and high quality craftsmanship, it shows that individuals with disabilities are capable of accurate, intricate and highly skilled work. Being involved with the parade in such a high profile way stands as testament to our shared commitment to promote inclusion, awareness and visibility of people with disabilities, and redefine public perception of disability.”

Howe marched in the parade with Brendan Lanese, a Spectrum employee on the autism spectrum; Brendan’s brother, Kevin, who is also on the autism spectrum; and Kathleen Lanese, their mother and a board member of the Autism Speaks Long Island Chapter. Their shirts read: “Wear the Change You Want in the World.”

Brendan Lanese says the parade showcases the abilities that he, his brother and fellow individuals living on the autism spectrum possess.

“The parade was important, not just for people who have disabilities, but to teach other people about them, too,” he said. “Sometimes, you can’t even tell right off the bat that someone has a disability. Like me… I have autism. At Spectrum, we show that just because someone is different doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of great things.”

Congratulations to all NYSID member agencies who participated in New York City’s 3rd Annual Disability Pride Parade!


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