July 26, 2022
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) Acting Commissioner Martha Jackson tonight marked the 32nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by honoring a number of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing accessibility, as well as advocating for people living with disabilities. At a reception hosted at Gracie Mansion, Mayor Adams and Acting Commissioner Jackson presented four ADA/Sapolin awards, in addition to an Advocacy Award. The ADA/Sapolin Awards are named after the late MOPD Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, who passed away on November 29, 2011, and the Advocacy Award is named in honor of the late Frieda Zames, prominent New York City disability rights activist. Signed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has fostered independence, empowerment, and inclusion for millions of Americans.
“As one of the greatest civil rights laws in our nation, the Americans with Disabilities Act broke down barriers and opened doors for so many of our brothers and sisters,” said Mayor Adams. “Every day, my administration fights for equality, dignity, and opportunity for all because this can’t be the greatest city in the world until everyone has an equal chance to contribute. Tonight, we honor some of the people and organizations that have led in this fight to help those living with disabilities fully participate in every aspect of city life. The Sapolin Awards are about recognizing those who are working every day to make New York the greatest city in the world for people living with disabilities to live, work, and thrive. ‘Now go on, follow your dreams.’”
“I am proud to join Mayor Adams in granting awards to organizations and individuals who share our commitment to improving the quality of the lives of people with disabilities in New York City,” said MOPD Acting Commissioner Jackson. “The recipients are truly worthy of this honor as they have proven themselves dedicated to the protection of civil rights as provided for by the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
The recipients of the 2022 ADA Sapolin Awards and the 2022 Frieda Zames Advocacy Award are:
The Frick Collection at Frick Madison: Recipient of the Employment Award
The Frick Collection, an art museum with a permanent collection that features Old Master paintings and European fine and decorative art, has demonstrated its commitment to diversity hiring in the New York City arts and cultural space. Their collaboration with MOPD and the arts community led employment pathways for the city’s largest untapped talent pipeline.
Kimberly T. Hill: Recipient of the Government Award
Kimberly T. Hill is the chief disability officer for the state of New York. Hill’s leadership in the disability community elevates access to critical services for New Yorkers with disabilities throughout the city and state, and affirms that the government is accountable for ensuring that people with disabilities can live meaningful and fulfilling lives.
AccessibleTravelNYC.Com: Recipient of the Public Accommodation Award
Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad is a blogger who created AccessibleTravelNYC.com, which showcases various accessible features around New York City as it relates to tourism. The content and information contained in this blog continues to enrich the lives of visitors and residents with disabilities who wish to explore all the joys that New York City has to offer.
NaviLens: Recipient of the Telecommunications Award
NaviLens is an app that reads out signs and provides train information in audio to assist blind or low-vision users. The app works with voice over accessibility settings on smartphones. Javier Pita Lozano, founder and CEO of NaviLens, demonstrated exceptional commitment to increasing accessibility of public spaces and transportation while making navigating everyday life easier for people who are blind or have low vision.
Emily Ladau: Recipient of the Frieda Zames Advocacy Award
Emily Ladau is a disability rights activist and author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally. Landau’s leadership in the disability community has given people with disabilities access to critical services that has allowed them to live independently within the community and among peers.