Tell Your Senators to Uphold Disability Rights by Opposing the Nomination of Judge Kavanaugh

CIDNY joins AAPD and others in opposing the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court. Judge Kavanaugh’s previous rulings and statements on health care, self-determination, employment, and education threaten the rights of all Americans with disabilities.
  1. He is a threat to your health care.
  2. He would allow the President to wield dangerous power.
  3. He is dismissive of the fundamental rights of people with disabilities.
  4. He won’t protect the rights of workers with disabilities.
  5. He would narrow the protections of civil rights laws.
  6. He promotes school voucher programs that leave students with disabilities without key protections.
  7. He discounts the role of the administrative agencies that enforce your rights.
  8. He would allow states to impose restrictive voter ID laws.
  9. He imposes barriers for people seeking justice in courts.
  10. He will not protect the rights of all people, including people with disabilities.

Take Action

Educate yourself and others about Judge Kavanaugh’s record.
Contact your Senators to express your opposition and emphasize the importance of health care and self-determination for all Americans with disabilitiesJudge Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing starts on September 4thcontact your Senators today to oppose to his nomination!

Target States

Senators need to hear from the disability community on how Judge Kavanaugh will roll back disability rights if confirmed. It is especially important to contact Senators from the following states:
  • Alabama – Senator Doug Jones
  • Alaska – Senator Lisa Murkowski
  • Indiana – Senator Joe Donnelly
  • Maine – Senator Susan Collin
  • North Dakota – Senator Heidi Heitkamp
  • Nevada – Senator Dean Heller
  • West Virginia – Senator Joe Manchin

Call your Senators

Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Senators.

Email your Senators

Contacting Congress provides unique links to email your Senators directly.

Engage your Senators through Social Media

Tweet your Senators – find their Twitter handles here.

CIDNY Receives 40th Anniversary Proclamation from NYC Council

The Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY for short) was honored with a proclamation from NYC Council for our 40th anniversary today. It was presented by Speaker Corey Johnson, who thanked us for our advocacy by and for people with disabilities. He said that the City “needs to do better” to reduce barriers and make the city more accessible.

We are grateful for the recognition of our efforts and our history as the first independent living center in New York. And we agree that our work is far from over.

You can see the proclamation in our Manhattan office.

It reads:

The New York City Council is proud to honor the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) for its 40 years of outstanding service bringing people with disabilities closer to full and equal access to health care, housing, public services, education, employment, voting, emergency planning, and transportation; and

WHEREAS:  On July 26, 1990, the United States enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities and one of our nation’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation. In addition to prohibiting discrimination and guaranteeing that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life, the ADA also mandated the establishment of TDD/telephone relay services; and

WHEREAS: The significance of the ADA cannot be overstated. In the United States, nearly one in five Americans lives with a disability. In New York City alone, nearly one in eight residents live with a disability. For people with disabilities, the ADA is a monumental piece of civil rights legislation, providing them with increased access to critical services while empowering them to reach their greatest potential. The ADA has also benefitted their loved ones as well as every person without a disability too for it has meant greater inclusion, diversity and community – all the traits that have defined our nation since its earliest days; and

WHEREAS: CIDNY, a non-profit organization founded in 1978, serves as the voice of people with disabilities in New York City. Its staff and board include social workers, lawyers, and other highly qualified professionals, most of whom are people with disabilities. Racially and ethnically diverse, they all share a strong belief in self-determination and bring invaluable life experiences and insights to their critical work; and

WHEREAS: From its start four decades ago, CIDNY has passionately advocated for civil rights and a strong safety net of benefits and services, while ensuring that the concerns of people with disabilities are heard whenever and wherever issues affecting their lives are being decided. Additionally, it advises government officials on ways to make public services like transportation, health insurance, education, and entitlements work better; monitors public and private initiatives that affect people with disabilities and offers constructive solutions to problems; and conducts a wide range of training and technical assistance activities to public officials, health care workers, and other service providers on disability awareness and disability-related issues; and

WHEREAS: Since the ADA was enacted 28 years ago, CIDNY has witnessed even more people with disabilities strive and succeed in education and in the workplace, live independently in the community, and access and benefit from services provided by schools, hospitals, and public transportation – all of which has greatly strengthened our city, state and nation; and

WHEREAS: Even with the ADA, removing all barriers for people with disabilities has remained a challenging goal. Yet, thanks to the collective action of activists and organizations like CIDNY, great advances continue to be made in society, in courtrooms, and in our communities; now, therefore

BE IT KNOWN: That the New York City Council is proud to honor the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York in celebration of its 40TH ANNIVERSARY and for its extraordinary service to people with disabilities throughout New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.

Signed this 18th day of July in the year Twenty Eighteen.

Yes We CAN: CIDNY Action Network Members Share Their Experiences, Featuring Elizabeth Melas

For this series, students from Hunter College interviewed CIDNY Action Network members and staff about their work with us and what brought them to organizing. Author Nadia Guennouni is currently working towards her Masters in Mental Health Counseling.

Elizabeth Melas was born and raised primarily in Greece as an American citizen living abroad, until she came to the United States for high school in 2004. During her junior year of high school, Elizabeth developed a large tumor around her brain stem that required immediate removal. The removal of the tumor left lasting damage that caused neurological ataxia, which in turn caused speech and vision problems as well as the inability to walk. She went on to get her Bachelor’s degree in International Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“I did not let any of that stop me from being me,” Elizabeth says. She identifies as an activist, first and foremost. Elizabeth is deeply rooted in justice in all forms, particularly political, social, and environmental. She is a strong advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of immigrants, and the right to a clean environment.

Her first foray into activism was at a Bernie Sanders rally in 2014, which changed how Elizabeth viewed her role in the world of activism. Prior to that rally, she always had an interest in activism, even as a child. Elizabeth says, “I’ve been an activist mentally since I was 7 years old, but I did not know how to get involved until recently when I started going to rallies.”

Since that rally in 2014, Elizabeth has gone to several more rallies and marches, even speaking to a crowd of 13,000 people. Elizabeth has also participated in events with New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN) and Rise and Resist. NYPAN mobilizes citizens and advocates for, and defends, the well-being of the people within its communities through conferences and lobbying at the local and state level. Rise and Resist (RaR) are a direct action group committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality, and civil liberties. CIDNY partners with RaR on some actions and events, particularly on health care and subway accessibility.

According to Elizabeth, “Facebook has made it so easy to find events and organizations to get involved in.” Facebook is also what brought Elizabeth to CIDNY. She joined the group a few years ago, but became more involved in the past year through a mutual friend she shared with our Executive Director, Susan Dooha.
Group photo of advocates at Lobby Day in Albany with a multi-colored striped painting the background.

Elizabeth has taken trips to Albany with the CIDNY Action Network to lobby for the rights of people with disabilities. She finds this very fulfilling because “instead of talking about politicians, I’m actually talking to the politicians trying to affect change.” She has also gone to the Supreme Court of New York recently to fight against the MTA. Elizabeth views these lobby trips as doing her civic duty for the community. She intends to continue to work with the CIDNY Action Network to lobby Albany for the rights of the disabled and she hopes to one day lobby Congress in Washington DC. As she tells it, “it really feels like my voice matters and that is all I really want.”

Hands Off SNAP (again)

The House of Representatives won’t take the hint.

They Voted to Take Away SNAP and FAILED – thanks to you! Now they want to try again.

We did it once, we can do it again! Join Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY and other advocacy groups across the country for a National SNAP Call-In Day today, Wednesday, June 20th to #SaveSNAP and Defeat the House Farm Bill (Again)

Urge New York Representatives like Rep. Dan Donovan, Rep. John Faso, Rep. Elise Stefanik, and Rep. Lee Zeldin to “Vote No” on the House Farm Bill, H.R. 2, which would cut SNAP and take food off the tables of more than 2 million low-income people, including people with disabilities. The House is expected to reconsider H.R. 2 on or before June 22, after failing to pass the bill in May.

On Wednesday, June 20th 2018 – Call 1-888-398-8702 (Toll-Free Feeding America number) or Call 202-224-3121 (U.S. Capitol Switchboard) and enter your zip code to be connected to your Representative. Urge him/her to “Vote No” on H.R. 2. Check out FRAC’s talking points and CBPP’s talking points for more information about what to say when you call.

New Yorkers, Keep Up The Pressure!

If you live in any of the districts listed below, we ask you to please call in and urge your Representative to “Vote No.” Their votes critical in ensuring that working families and children are able to keep food on their tables. We need a bipartisan bill that strengthens and protects SNAP, and what they have proposed is certainly not it! Please consider calling the district offices if you are unable to get through via the other numbers listed below.

Rep. Dan Donovan – District 11

Brooklyn District Office

7308 13th Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11228

Phone: 718-630-5277

Staten Island District Office

265 New Dorp Lane, 2nd Floor

Staten Island, NY 10306

Phone: 718-351-1062

Rep. John Faso – District 19

Delhi District Office
111 Main Street
Delhi, NY 13753
Phone: (607) 746-9537

Kinderhook District Office

2 Hudson Street

Kinderhook, NY 12106

Phone: (518) 610-8133

Kingston District Office

721 Broadway

Kingston, NY 12401

Phone: (845) 514-2322

Rep. Elise Stefanik – District 21

Glens Falls Office

136 Glen Street

Glens Falls, NY 12801

Phone: (518) 743-0964

Plattsburgh Office

23 Durkee Street Suite C

Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Phone: (518) 561-2324

Watertown Office

88 Public Square Suite A

Watertown, NY 13601

Phone: (315) 782-3150

Rep. Lee Zeldin – District 1

Main District Office

31 Oak Street

Suite 20

Patchogue, NY 11772

Phone: (631) 289-1097

Remember: Today, Wednesday, June 20th 2018 – Call 1-888-398-8702 (Toll-Free Feeding America number) or Call 202-224-3121 (U.S. Capitol Switchboard) and enter your zip code to be connected to your Representative. Urge him/her to “Vote No” on H.R. 2.