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Hundreds Celebrate ADA Anniversary With a March Through Downtown Syracuse

Meghan Burke

Hundreds of people with and without disabilities marched through downtown Syracuse Wednesday to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Longtime advocate and Arise Foundation board member Agnes McCray says the ADA is an achievement in itself.

“We were doing so many things before the ADA, and the ADA came in and made it easier and a little more accessible for all people.”                        

Wednesday's march was the first for Rendell Thomas, a Direct Support Professional for Arise who says he believes in giving the best care for the men and women he works with. He says events like this are important for those with disabilities to grow and socialize with others.

"I do have a family member with a disability. It helps individuals get out, maybe get a job.  In a way, they feed off your attitude and your presence, they see you talk to other people in a respectful way.  It definitely helps them a lot.”                   

Credit Meghan Burke / WAER News

Agnes McCray agrees, and says whether someone is sitting or standing, everyone is united under the same flag.  She says while the ADA has helped, there’s more work to do.

"We have to talk about having accessibility to jobs and transportation, and having an opportunity to go into a restaurant without having to take a wheelchair up some stairs.”             

McCray says she is celebrating the ADA because businesses in her area are thriving and welcoming to people with what she calls extravagant differences. A similar march will be held Thursday in Oneida from 9:30 to noon.  More information about independent living and housing services is at Arise and

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at