Over 150 people, including New York State officials, provider organizations, and parents, attended a community block party on May 11th in Harlem, New York City, celebrating the accomplishments of the incredible Willie Mae Goodman, a disability rights activist on her 91st birthday.
The event was hosted by Miss Goodman, whose life of advocacy began when her daughter Margaret was born with severe disabilities. Her efforts have led to hundreds of people with developmental disabilities receiving the residential supports they are fully entitled to.
Miss Goodman was honored by the state of New York with a proclamation for 50 years of service as a champion for individuals with developmental disabilities. The proclamation reads, “A true visionary, Willie Mae Goodman has worked tirelessly to address society’s ignorance on the needs of the developmentally disabled and helped tear down any barriers which have denied these individuals community integration opportunities.”
Speakers at the event included Miss Willie Mae Goodman, Edward. R. Matthews, CEO of ADAPT Community Network; Kerri E. Neifeld, Commissioner of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD); James Introne, former Deputy Secretary for Health & former Commissioner of OPWDD; Jose Rivera, Director, Corporate Compliance, UCP of Nassau County; Hugh Tarpley, Former Director, M/BDSO, and Charles Rangel, former U.S. representative for districts in New York.
Miss Goodman’s fierce advocacy and love for her daughter inspire and motivate us to continue to work hard to empower New Yorkers with disabilities through innovative solutions, one person at a time.