Why I will march for disability rights in New York City

Gilbert Plaza presents at NYU Lutheran Hospital
Gilbert Plaza presents at NYU Lutheran Hospital
Gilbert Plaza, who has cerebral palsy, presents at an event held at NYU Lutheran Hospital.

Why I will march for disability rights in New York City

Advocate Gilbert Plaza will be participating in the 2018 NYC Disability Pride Parade
July 11, 2018

I’ve been advocating for people with disabilities for over 30 years. When you’re advocating for other people, and for yourself, it’s such a good thing. It makes me happy.

I just want everyone to advocate for people with disabilities. To stand by our side. There are so many things happening right now. No one knows where we’ll be in a couple of years. The agencies that help people with disabilities need more funding.

I have cerebral palsy and live at the Giannattasio Residence, a HeartShare program in Brooklyn. I’ve been there for 16 years but other agencies are closing some of their programs.

The problem is not just discrimination against people with disabilities. Everything is getting so expensive now. There's no funding. That means some people will be on the streets. We need programs. We need places to live. We need jobs. What good will we do spending the whole day at home?

I pray that we can continue to live our lives and that the agencies helping us can survive. We have to see what the future looks like, and right now, it doesn’t look pretty.

We have to do something. We have to stand up for people with disabilities. That’s why I will march on July 15 in the Disability Pride Parade. This will be my fourth time marching.

The parade brings everyone together and each year it gets bigger. I wish it would air on television so that everyone could see us. This parade not only gives us a strong voice, but also shows our strong spirit.

We can’t do this alone. I want everyone to fight for us, and the parade is a good step forward. We march to show everybody who we are and to prove what we can do. We walk together for disability rights, for human rights.

Come and join us at Madison Square Park at 10 a.m.

 Gilbert Plaza
Gilbert Plaza
is a disability advocate with HeartShare and has cerebral palsy.