Increasing Accessibility and Inclusivity with Senators Peter Harckham and Rob Rolison in New York
The CP Unlimited offices in Hudson Valley hosted New York State Senators Peter Harckham (D- District 40) and Rob Rolison (R- District 39) for an important press conference and announcement of Senator Harckham’s “Traveling with Dignity” Act that will soon be submitted as legislation in New York State.
The bill mandates the installation of adult changing facilities at venues across New York that can host more than 2,500 visitors. For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, alongside veterans and seniors, this will mean the ability to access the full program and event at spaces where they previously were not accommodated.
The issue was brought to Senator Harckham’s attention by CP Unlimited self-advocates and championed by his office. Press conference attendees today were able to hear from two of our advocates, Diego Ortiz and Betty Williams, who explained why and how the improvements seen from the bill will help them achieve fulfilling lives.
*Updated November 28 with media coverage below:
City & State NY
Putnam County News and Recorder [subscription needed]
We present the full press conference below, with attributed quotes below, for your enjoyment and sharing:
“People with differing abilities should be able to participate in the same activities, day trips and excursions that are available to everybody, and the best way to effectuate this is to provide as many adult changing areas and disability-friendly rest areas as possible.” -Senator Peter Harckham
“This common-sense legislation simply focuses on these accommodations, which will benefit residents and visitors alike. By providing safer, more sanitary spaces for caregivers and family members to aid adults in need of assistance, we are also elevating the respect and dignity these community members are well deserving of.” -Senator Peter Harckham
“I applaud Senator Harckham for bringing this bill forward, and I plan to be a co-sponsor. As a society, we need to do everything we can to provide access to changing stations for the disability community so that they have an opportunity to travel everywhere possible and lead full lives. I intend to continue to work in a bipartisan way in order to get this measure passed in the legislature and enacted into law.” -Senator Rob Rolison
“I need a changing table. I get changed every two hours and if I dont get changed, I can’t do it and I have to go home. And then I miss that part of the program. …I also can’t go to the rally [on November 15]. …I didnt go bowling with Senator Harckham because they didnt have a changing table and I had to stay home.” -Betty Williams
“We need to have public [changing tables] in anywhere we go to. …At one point, I had to get out of my chair to crawl to get to the bathroom. It was hard.” -Diego Ortiz