FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 9, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND COMMISSIONER SAPOLIN HOST RECEPTION IN HONOR OF 21st ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Commissioner Matthew Sapolin today hosted a reception at Gracie Mansion to celebrate the 21th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Signed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has fostered independence, empowerment and inclusion for millions of Americans. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sapolin presented five awards recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing accessibility for people with disabilities. Joining the Mayor and Commissioner Sapolin at the reception were Deputy Mayor of Legal Affairs Carol Robles-Román; U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith; Linda Scarce-Turner, EVP for Human Services, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey; Bobbi Wailes, Director, Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities, Lincoln Center; Stephen Hanson, Founder & President, BR Guest Hospitality; and Dale Stone, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Motorola Mobility.
“It is an honor to celebrate the occasion of the 21st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the most significant achievements in the history of civil rights,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Over the past nine years we have worked closely with many organizations focused on breaking down artificial barriers that prevent New Yorkers from being independent. Tonight, in the spirit of the ADA, we champion those who enable New Yorkers with disabilities to fully participate in all that our great city has to offer.”
“We continue our dedication to access for all by granting awards to organizations and individuals who share our commitment to enhancing the quality of the lives of people with disabilities,” said Commissioner Sapolin. “The recipients, through their programs, services and actions, have demonstrated, and continue to demonstrate, their dedication to the benefits provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
At the reception, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sapolin presented awards to five recipients in recognition of their contributions to accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are:
- Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey: TITLE I Employment Award Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, Inc. is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization serving people with mental and physical disabilities, the unemployed, new immigrants, ex-offenders, mature workers and underserved youth. Goodwill’s diverse programs span New York City, Northern New Jersey, Long Island and upstate New York, and serve more than 136,000 people annually. Goodwill merits this honor for its overall commitment to increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, including offering a wide range of long- and short-term employment and training services; providing one-stop employment centers, workforce development, welfare-to-work, training services and temporary staffing; and its programs including “Member for Life”, “Supported Employment”, “Assisted Competitive Employment” and the “Extended Rehabilitation Services”. Linda Scarce-Turner, EVP for Human Services, Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, is accepting the award.
- Lincoln Center: TITLE II Public Service Award Lincoln Center is the world’s leading performing arts center, and has been a major contributor to New York City’s cultural and intellectual life, with an internationally recognized dedication to artistic excellence. Lincoln Center merits this honor for its overall commitment to increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities through the accomplishments of its Department of Programs and Services for People With Disabilities, including providing access and full participation in the world of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for patrons, artists, and employees with disabilities; distributing supplementary large-type and Braille house programs free of charge for performances; making available Assistive Listening Devices; coordinating "Passport to the World of the Performing Arts", its program that opens new horizons and provides a window on the world through the performing arts for children with disabilities; and providing its Community Outreach Program that brings Lincoln Center entertainment to the physically challenged residents of hospital and nursing homes to enrich their lives. Bobbi Wailes, Director, Department of Programs and Services for People with Disabilities, Lincoln Center, is accepting the award.
- BR Guest Hospitality: TITLE III Reasonable Accommodation Award Since 1987, BR Guest Hospitality has been a leader in providing quality restaurants, bars and hotels to New York City. It is dedicated to community giving by improving the overall quality of life for the needy in areas such as education and professional training, and its dedication to the environment has led it to become the first multi-concept restaurant group to be certified green by the Green Restaurant Association. BR Guest merits this honor for demonstrating significant commitment to providing significant accessibility in its NYC restaurants, including its 3 Dos Caminos locations, the Blue Water Grill, Primehouse New York, the Blue Fin and Isabella’s. Stephen Hanson, Founder & President, BR Guest Hospitality, is accepting the award.
- Motorola Mobility: TITLE IV Telecommunications Award Motorola Mobility fuses innovative technology with human insights to create experiences that simplify, connect and enrich people's lives and is a leading provider of mission-critical communication products and services for enterprise and government customers. Motorola Mobility merits this honor for its overall commitment to increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities in the field of telecommunications through its wide array of accessibility features contained in its products, including the Telecoil speaker for people who use hearing aids; the VibraCall Alert system; the keypad depression and audible feedbacks; and the voice recognition and text-to-speech capabilities. Dale Stone, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Motorola Mobility, is accepting the award.
- Jean Kennedy Smith: Frieda Zames Advocacy Award Jean Kennedy Smith’s first experience in national politics came in 1960, as she traveled around the country for her brother, Senator John F. Kennedy, in his campaign for the presidency. She became a political figure in her own right three decades later, when President Clinton nominated her to be U.S. Ambassador to Ireland on March 17, 1993. After confirmation by the Senate, she assumed her duties that June, serving until 1998. Ambassador Smith merits this honor for her overall commitment to increasing the quality of life for people with disabilities through her efforts with the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, which provides grants to promote awareness and advocacy in the field of mental retardation; her founding of VSA Arts, a partner with the NYC Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities for many years in disability initiatives that provides opportunities in the creative arts for persons with disabilities; and her overall advocacy efforts for people with disabilities through articles such as “Displaced, Disabled and in Need of Care”.
This evening’s reception was sponsored by IBM and Citigroup. During the event, guests were welcome to information and literature provided by Project Access NYC, a joint project of Art Beyond Sight/Art Education for the Blind and its founding partners: American Association for State and Local History, American Association of Museums, Association of Science - Technology Centers, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums, as well as the NYC Mayor’s Office for People With Disabilities. Its goal is to promote access for people with disabilities to cultural institutions through the creation of a national database of the accessible facilities and programs available to people with disabilities, including those from major New York City cultural institutions.
As guests departed from tonight’s event, they received a new calendar that was a collaborative effort between VSA Arts, an international nonprofit organization founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts, and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, established in 1973, serves as a liaison between city government and disabled individuals, as well as organizations dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine