Disability Pride Parades

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Disability Pride Parade 2011 participants.

Disability Pride Parades are parades held to celebrate disabled people.[1] Disability Pride Parades seek to change the way people think about and define disability, to end the stigma of disability, and to promote the belief that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.[2]

Disability Pride Parades also usually coincide with Disability Pride Week in the communities where they are held.


The first Disability Pride Day was held in Boston, MA in 1990. The featured speaker was Karen Thompson, author of Why Can't Sharon Kowalski Come Home? The Boston Disability Pride Parade was held again in 1991, but has not been held since. It ended with the death of lead organizer, Diana Viets, and with the move of co-organizer Catherine Odette to Madison, WI.

On July 26, 1992 New York City held its first Disability Independence Day March. Congress Member Major Owens was a keynote speaker.[3] The last Disability Independence Day March was held on July 28, 1996.

The first Chicago Disability Pride Parade was the first Disability Pride Parade in the United States after the Boston-based parades of the 1990s.[4] It was held on July 18, 2004.[1]

On July 12, 2015 New York City held its first Disability Pride Parade; Tom Harkin and Mary LeDonne (daughter of Mike LeDonne, Founder/President of Disability Pride NYC ) were its grand marshals.[5]


Disability Pride Parades have been held many times in many places across the United States.[6]

City # of Parades First Parade Last Parade
Chicago, IL 13 2004 2017[7]
Mountain View, CA 5 2010 2014
Trenton, NJ 5 2011 2015 (Oct)
Philadelphia, PA 4 2012 2015
Nacogdoches, TX 4 2014 2017
Boston, MA 2 1990 2014
Buffalo, NY 2 2016 2017
Colorado Springs, CO 1 2012 NA
Columbus, OH 1 2014 NA
Columbia, MO 1 2010 NA
Logan, UT 1 2010 NA
Davis, CA 1 2010 NA
New York, NY* 5 2015 NA
Atlanta, GA 1 2015 NA
Los Angeles, CA 2 2016 NA


The first Chicago Disability Pride Parade was the first such parade in the United States after the Boston-based parades of the 1990s.[4] It was held on July 18, 2004, and another Disability Pride Parade has been held in Chicago each subsequent July.[1] The first Chicago parade was funded with $10,000 in seed money that Sarah Triano received in 2003 as part of the Paul G. Hearne Leadership award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.[8] According to Triano, fifteen hundred people attended the parade.[8] Yoshiko Dart was the parade marshal.[9] The most recent Disability Pride Parade in Chicago was held July 23, 2016.

The Chicago Disability Pride Parade has a theme and a grand marshal each year.

Chicago Disability Pride Parade Date Theme Grand Marshal
July 18, 2004 Unified in Pride Yoshiko Dart
July 23, 2005 Unity Builds Community Steven Brown
July 22, 2006 Celebrating Disability Arts and Culture Robert David Hall
July 21, 2007 Celebrating Worldwide: Disabled, Proud, Present, Diverse Kathy Martinez
July 26, 2008 Pride Realized Is Destiny Empowered Tony Coelho
July 25, 2009 Changing to Pride Amber Smock
July 24, 2010 Pride Revolution Eli Clare
July 23, 2011 Disability Pride is Contagious Catherine Odette
July 21, 2012 Disability Pride: Today, Tomorrow, and Forever Linda Miller
July 19, 2014 Love Life and Live Green Gary Arnold
July 18, 2015 On the Road to Freedom Tom Harkin
July 23, 2016 Inclusion Matters Kris Lenzo

New York City[edit]

Jazz musician Mike LeDonne's daughter Mary Patterson LeDonne was born in 2004 with multiple disabilities and that was the spark that lit the fire for the Annual Disability Pride NYC Parade. He first started putting together ideas for a Disability Pride Parade in New York City in 2011. He formed a non profit called Disability Pride NYC, Inc. in 2014. That same year the Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities (MOPD) was planning a 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA (American's with Disabilities Act) celebration and decided to join forces with DPNYC to realize the first annual Disability Pride Parade on July 12, 2015. Some of the seed money for the parade was raised from a Jazz concert called Jazz Legends Play For Disability Pride put on by Mike in which many of the biggest names in Jazz donated their talent for the night. Almost 4,000 people showed up for the first parade which culminated with a celebration featuring the talents of the disability community. There are 2 or 3 Grand Marshals each year, of which Mike's daughter Mary is always 1, and Mayor Bill De Blasio declared July to be Disability Pride Month in New York City.


  1. ^ a b c Dunnigan, Pat (July 23, 2010). "Disability Pride Parade kicks off Saturday". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Our Mission". The Disability Pride Association. 5 December 2011. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Disability March in New York on July 25".
  4. ^ a b "Home Page of Disability Pride Parade". Chicago Disability Pride Parade. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.
  5. ^ "New York City Hosts First Disability Pride Parade « CBS New York". Newyork.cbslocal.com. 1987-07-01. Retrieved 2015-07-13.
  6. ^ http://mydisabilitypride.net/2015/03/18/a-brief-history-of-disability-pride-parades
  7. ^ "Disability Pride Parade Association". Disability Pride Parade Association. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
  8. ^ a b "Disability Pride Fast Becoming Genuine Cause for Celebration". www.itodaynews.com. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  9. ^ "The Inaugural International Disability Pride Parade Unified in Pride Sunday, July 18, 2004 Chicago, Illionis [sic]". www.disabilityprideparade.com. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.

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