Early agenda of DIA, early participants in DIAMcQuade
Anyway, from the LIU conference people with disabilities started meeting to discuss working and changing our world. People had heard about Judy's situation. Like Larry, my husband, had read about Judy's situation and was really incensed that somebody who was obviously qualified should be denied a job. He got in touch with Judy. A lot of it was people getting in touch with Judy over that lawsuit. It was a catalyst. So we started meeting. We were taking on the world. We were going to deal with transportation, education, employment, housing--
Who was meeting?
Okay. Bobbi Linn. There was a woman who was our treasurer, Susan Marcus. She's now Susan Hays. She was from Long Island. Larry was the only nondisabled member.
Weissberger, that's my husband. I'm a second wife. He was married to somebody else back then. I met him--I don't know if you remember Ronnie Stier. There was no transportation, so those of us who had vehicles would pick up somebody if they needed a lift. We were meeting, basically in Brooklyn at anybody's house that was accessible. You must remember when we were trying to have borough DIA's to deal with the lack of transportation, we met at your house. Whoever had an accessible apartment or a house, people would go and meet. First, a lot of our meetings were in Brooklyn, then we went into Manhattan. When we did the borough thing, that was really Pat Figueroa's idea, and that was after Judy had gone to California. We tried to have little borough groups. A lot of the DIA people who are currently in DIA from Manhattan, they were the Manhattan borough group. I remember being president at the time when that came about. Then we went to the Bronx. A lot of our meetings were at Ronnie Stier's house or Judy Heumann's house, or wherever else we could meet in Brooklyn. Then a lot of the meetings took place at Judy's apartment at 175 Willoughby Street.
We were meeting. We were making plans. We would have worked on, at that time, the Flynn--no, that was 1975, that might have been later--but we wanted state legislation to protect people with disabilities. I know we worked on city legislation, because first the City Human Rights Law protected people with physical disabilities, then it was expanded to incorporate people with emotional disabilities, but first it was just protecting people with physical disabilities.
― 78 ―depending on how many apartments there were in a building, something like five percent would have to be accessible. Bad idea. There's a new struggle going on in the state right now. If you've seen Able newspaper. Well, the state--I'm moving forward many, many years. The state building code was changed some time I think in the eighties, so that it was adaptable housing. You wouldn't have designated handicapped apartments, which was a disaster, because if a disabled person wasn't renting it, it went to a nondisabled person and they didn't need the features, and they still would have inaccessible housing. So first the state code changed. EPVA did a lot of work on that.
Eastern Paralyzed Veteran's Association did a lot of work on the state building code. For some reason New York City has its own building code. So the state modified its building code, calling for adaptable housing. You would have reinforcements in the walls for grab bars in the shower or in the tub, to put grab bars behind the toilets. Doors would have to be thirty-two inches wide. Reinforcements for cabinets could be lowered. It wouldn't be that expensive to make the modifications if the tenant was disabled.