A New Type of Pride March: The Disability Pride NYC Parade to Unfold in July 2015

A New Type of Pride March: The Disability Pride NYC Parade to Unfold in July 2015

For the first time ever, New York City will be hosting a Disability Pride parade this coming July. An idea formed by the jazz pianist Mike LeDonne, who says he has been working for several years to create an annual Disability Pride Day and parade to celebrate those with mental and physical disabilities.

LeDonne told The New York times, “Actually, she’s the reason for the parade,” meaning his 10 year old daughter Mary. Mary was born with Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that has left her developmentally disabled and without speech. She is legally blind and often uses a wheelchair.

With a love for music, LeDonne has utilized it to help Mary learn, develop, and interact with the world. Through this, Mary has become almost as crazy for music as her father. Together, LeDonne and Mary spend their days creating and appreciating music of all kinds. LeDonne says he uses Mary to determine if the project he is working on is any good: “I turn around, and if she’s moving to the music, then I know I got something good.” LeDonne said that he was inspired by his daughter to create a lively, musical procession to celebrate people and their differences.

The goal of the pride day is to increase awareness and help discourage common stereotypes held about disabilities. The parade will contain vendors and informational kiosks along the route and on both ends there will be entertainment and speakers.

LeDonne has enlisted as much volunteer help as possible to organize the parade. He has created a nonprofit organization and just recently held a fund-raiser featuring prominent jazz musicians Ron Carter, Benny Golson, and Brad Mehldau. Ledonne also performed and Mary was in attendance. To volunteer or to learn more information you can visit either the Disability Pride Day NYC Facebook page or their website.

The parade will be held on July 12 and will begin at Madison Square and end in Union Square.

About the author: Emily is a guest contributor from Global Lift Corp, the leader in ADA compliant pool lifts.