September 24, 2021
Response to Erik Adams' Willowbrook Comments
NYC's leading Mayoral Candidate, Eric Adams, shook disability advocates earlier this week during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, in which he called the closure of Willowbrook State School "a mistake" and an "overreaction." The clip can be viewed here (beginning at the 10:50 mark).

Adams' brief comments revealed profound misinformation about the depth of abuses at Willowbrook, the system of integrated community supports that has been built in the wake of those atrocities, and the needs of the population we support. Disability Rights New York released a statement correcting Adams' claims and calling for leaders who are educated on the history of disability rights.

The Arc New York agrees with DRNY that our leaders must be better informed on the history of the I/DD field, and better advocates for the 140,000 New Yorkers with I/DD. We believe this is an opportunity to educate Adams and other state leaders, both about the history of our field and the urgency of our current issues. We have reached out to Adams' team about opportunities for education and advocacy and will keep you apprised of those efforts moving forward.

We must remember the painful history of Willowbrook, and we must honor the state’s commitment to do better. The best way to honor that commitment is by ensuring that quality programs and supports for New Yorkers with I/DD are resourced and sustained into the future. We've shared our call on social media and invite you to share, or post or tweet your own thoughts to @ericadamsforNYC and @morningjoe.

Southern Tier Workforce Rally a Resounding Success
On Tuesday, The Arc of Delaware County, and The Arc Otsego, ACHIEVE, members of New York Disability Advocates (NYDA), and several other provider organizations, held a rally to address the state’s workforce crisis. State Senator Fred Akshar, Assemblymembers Joe Angelino, and Brian Miller joined to voice their support alongside Direct Support Professionals (DSPs), self-advocates, and family members. The recording of the event can be viewed here.
Numerous news outlets covered the rally and conveyed the message that we need immediate support and sustainable funding to ensure

The Arc NY and its Chapters have been sounding the alarm with rallies across the state since late July. Additional events still being planned. Keep an eye out for a rally in your area, or join virtually!
Governor Hochul Announces New Administrative Appointments
On Wednesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced additional appointments to her administration including:

  • Robin Chappelle Golston, Executive Deputy Secretary
  • Julie Wood, Communications Director
  • Marty Mack, Appointments Secretary
  • Sita Fey, Deputy Appointments Secretary  
  • Bryan Lesswing, Senior Advisor to the Governor

The full press release with short biographies of the new appointees can be found here

The Governor also announced the appointments of Reuben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garcia to the board of the Office of Cannabis Management. The Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management will create and implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for New York's cannabis industry, including the production, licensing, packaging, marketing and sale of cannabis products.
ACL/CMS Webinar on Strengthening HCBS
The Association for Community Living (ACL) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will conduct a webinar on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 3-4:30 PM, focused on Expanding, Enhancing, and Strengthening Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) under Section 9817 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This webinar will include an overview of relevant sections of ARPA and include presentations from Colorado and Massachusetts on innovative initiatives in their initial state spending plans. Register here.
Competing Redistricting Maps Released
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission released two sets of draft redistricting maps for Congress, NYS Assembly and NYS Senate. A series of public hearings are scheduled throughout the state to gather feedback on the proposals. The Commission is required to approve and submit maps to the state legislature by January 1, 2022. After approval, the final maps will affect political geography and representation for the next ten years. 2020 Census data showed a population decrease, causing New York to lose one seat in the House of Representatives. Additional analysis by City and State can be found here.

Next Round of Revisions to Existing Arc US Position Statements
The Arc US Policy and Positions Committee, with members from both The Arc and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), is working to revise three of their current position statements and develop one new joint statement. AAIDD adopted a new statement in December 2020 on Anti-Racism, which will be the starting point for the new joint position statement. The four statements can be found below:

While the Committee is working on the statements, they would like to hear from you about what ideas or concepts you believe should be kept in the statements and what should be changed. Your comments will be considered in developing drafts for the Boards of Directors of The Arc and AAIDD. Later in the year, close-to-final revised statements will be available for comment, before the two Boards of Directors vote on them.

Please click here to make your comments and please respond by Friday, October 8. If you have any questions, contact Mike Nagel at
This and all advocacy updates are archived on The Arc New York website for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
Contact: Philip Aydinian, Director of Governmental Affairs 
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