What We Do

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The Center for Disability Rights has a long history of advocating for the rights and freedom of people of all ages and all types of disabilities. With an emphasis on community-based services, accessible housing and transportation, employment and fair wages for people with disabilities, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, CDR’s Advocacy Team works to enforce and expand the laws, policies, regulations, and services that affect the day-to-day lives of people with disabilities.

CDR’s advocacy has a history of victories which include:

  • Advocating to establish the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program in the 1990s
  •  Advocating for an entry ramp to the Empire Brewery in the 1990s
  • Successfully suing Lift Line for “Next-Day Service” in 2000
  • Establishing the Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council in 2002
  • Passing legislation to create the Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver in 2004
  • Advocating for increased accessibility in local public accommodations including Roc Brewing Co., Subway, Jeremiah’s Tavern, and Hedonist Chocolates in 2012.
  • Advocating for passage of the Money Follows the Person initiative in 2005
  • Securing additional funding for CDPAS attendant overtime under pending DOL overtime rules in 2014
  • Ending the use of inaccessible voting machines in local elections in 2015

CDR partners with Disability Rights activists across the city, state, and country in order to achieve the goal of independence, integration, and civil rights of all people with disabilities. To achieve this goal, CDR uses a “pitchfork” strategy of advocacy, including

  • Legislative: Working with our representatives to create or enforce laws or ordinances that will improve the lives of people with disabilities.
  • Legal: Employing the legal process, including assisting with lawsuits, when the rights of people with disabilities have been violated.
  • Media: Educating the public about Disability Rights issues through media, social media, and direct outreach.
  • Direct Action: Organizing non-violent civil disobedience, protests, and demonstrations against government entities and public accommodations that discriminate against people with disabilities.
  • Administrative: Training leaders in the Disability Rights Movement to serve in leadership roles in the government, businesses, and organizations to help influence those establishments and ensure that accessibility and disability rights are engrained in entities throughout our community.

CDR’s Advocacy Team strives to create a more just society and barrier-free environment for people with disabilities. We are only strong because we have many community advocates who volunteer their time and put forth great effort to fight for Disability Rights. We strongly encourage and eagerly welcome the participation of all members of our community interested in furthering the rights of people with disabilities. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us!

To contact CDR’s Advocacy team, please email advocacy@cdrnys.org or check out the “Our Team” section to find the direct email for each person on our team