By Verena Dobnik
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City hosted its first parade Sunday supporting people with disabilities, with more than 3,000 participants heading up Broadway using wheelchairs, canes and guide dogs.
“We’re here full force,” said rapper Namel Norris, 33, now in a wheelchair after being shot in the Bronx and paralyzed as a teenager. “I thought my life was over, but music is my calling, I have a purpose in life.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off the inaugural NYC Disability Pride Parade, saying he’s proud his city is a national leader in supporting rights for disabled people.
The grand marshal was former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who 25 years ago sponsored the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“I may be retired from the Senate, but I’m not retired from the fight,” Harkin said. “We know that when companies hire people with disabilities they get the best workers, the most loyal workers, the most productive workers.”