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May 17, 2019

NEW YORK—Today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and the Mayor’s Creative Communications unit hosted the 2nd annual NYC Digital Inclusion Conference (DiCon). The sold-out event featured hands-on workshops, panels and networking opportunities for digital workers in public and private sectors on internet human rights, digital accessibility and inclusion by design. The event also featured a dance performance by the Heidi Latsky Dance Group, which uses utilize accessible audio technology to describe their dancers and movements to audiences with disabilities.

“If the ways in which people communicate are not fully accessible and inclusive, then we are not reaching our largest possible audience,” said Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. “As our services move into the digital space, it is incredibly important that they are accessible and usable for all. MOPD is proud to work with the Creative Communications team at the Mayor’s Office on our second annual Digital Inclusion Conference to bring together leaders in digital accessibility and create best practices for a more inclusive society. MOPD looks forward to continued collaboration with our partners as we work to share information and resources in a way that reaches all of the diverse populations that make NYC the greatest city in the world.” 

“Our City serves 8.6 million New Yorkers who speak more than 200 languages. Within that group are one million people with disabilities and three million people born outside of the United States. Our Creative Communications team is constantly striving to create digital content that is accessible and reflective of every experience, culture, community and identity within our five boroughs,” said Chief Content Officer Jess Matthews. “It has been a privilege to partner with the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and we hope this conference underscores how seriously we take our commitment as public servants for all New Yorkers.”

“Our goal for the second annual NYC Digital Inclusion Conference is to partner with City agencies and people in the private and public sectors to design an inclusive digital landscape for all New Yorkers. For us, that landscape means allowing all members of our community to have equal access to online services and opportunities,” said Senior Creative Strategist and Lead Conference Organizer Chi Nguyen. “As one of the most diverse cities in the United States, we need to remove obstacles between resources and the people who need them.”

“Building a fairer and more equitable New York City means that we consider the needs of all New Yorkers, and we build our services to promote equity and inclusion. Congratulations to the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities and the Creative Communications team for convening the second annual NYC Digital Inclusion Conference. We at the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics are proud to be a continued partner for more open and accessible data. I look forward to learning and sharing alongside all of you at the conference,” said Kelly Jin, Chief Analytics Officer.

“The Commission is committed to protecting the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities and addressing new and evolving forms of discrimination. We are incredibly excited to join the conversation at DiCon 2019,” said Brittny Saunders, Deputy Commissioner for Strategic Initiatives at NYC Commission on Human Rights.

"People with disabilities cannot participate fully in the digital commons until all digital infrastructure is accessible, from the tools we use to browse the Web to those we use to build it. The project of digital equity requires us to foster a practical understanding of accessible practices among tech workers at all levels and to position accessibility as a vital aspect of design, as fundamental as privacy and security are to a healthy and resilient digital ecosystem," said Chancey Fleet, a Fellow at the Data & Society Research Institute.    

“The creation and development of the Heidi Latsky Dance App demonstrates our belief that inclusion is not merely about compliance, but creative authenticity, incorporating audio description and captioning,” said the Heidi Latsky Dance Group. “Our approach to accessibility seeks to welcome as many people as possible into our works, ensuring that audiences may fully encounter Heidi Latsky Dance (HLD) in and out of performance. HLD joins this conference to both contribute and learn with those working in accessibility and technology.”

The way people design and build can make it hard—and sometimes impossible—for people with disabilities and those with limited-English proficiency to access services and information delivered by digital products. Because of this, the City of New York advocates for an accessibility-first approach to design and development. Learn more at

This conference was made possible by the generous sponsorship from SeamlessDocs, Vispero, Aira, and Heidi Latsky Dance.

About the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities:

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) is the liaison between New York City government and the disability community. In partnership with all City offices and agencies, MOPD consistently ensures that the rights and concerns of the disability community are included in all City initiatives and that City programs and policies address the needs of people with disabilities. Their ultimate goal is to make New York City the most accessible city in the world.

About the Mayor’s Creative Communications Unit:

The Mayor’s Creative Communications unit is responsible for generating digital content representative of mayoral policy and its impact on everyday New Yorkers. The team utilizes social media to communicate the unique voice of the administration through live coverage, official photos, videos, graphics and more.

To learn more about the 2019 conference, please visit and follow @NYCDisabilities and @NYCMayorsOffice. Join the conversation online during the conference using #NYCDiCon19.