2018 Inaugural Inductees

The NYS Disability Rights Hall of Fame is proud to recognize its first inaugural class of individuals who have devoted their lives to positively impacting people with disabilities in our greater society. Achievements include improving public policy, implementing new programs and services, advancing new knowledge and concepts, eliminating barriers, and promoting a positive image for people with disabilities.

To view this event’s program, click on the following link: 2018 HOF Program

Cliff Perez has been a fearless, persistent advocate for people with disabilities, advocating both for specific individuals in need and for systems change at the local, state and federal levels. He holds a master’s degree in social work and serves as the systems advocate for the Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley (ILCHV), based in Troy, NY. He also serves on numerous committees, boards and task forces charged with protecting and strengthening disability rights.

Marilyn Saviola is part of the “greatest generation” of civil rights advocates who came of age in the 1960s and ‘70s and reshaped our expectations of what formerly marginalized populations could achieve. At age 10, Marilyn contracted polio and was hospitalized for two months in an iron lung. When she was able to breathe on her own with a portable ventilator, she was transferred to Goldwater Memorial Hospital for 18 months, then returned home.

Doug Usiak’s work for disability rights and independent living began in 1974, after an accident in the US Army cost him his sight. At the VA’s Blind Rehabilitation Center, he learned the skills needed to live without sight, and the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) made him aware of the Disability Rights movement.

Anna Fay was a true pioneer in disability rights, one of the founders and leaders of the Independent Living movement nationally and locally.

Anna was instrumental in the creation of the Center for Independence of the Disabled of New York (CIDNY) in the 1970s and was an officer of the Westchester/Yonkers Independent Living Center in the 1980s and ‘90s.

Pat Figueroa was a peer who had no peers. He was one of the nation’s most inspiring, innovative leaders of the disability rights and Independent Living movements for more than four decades. Born with spina bifida, Pat had a passion for art and was accepted to New York City’s High School of Art and Design, where he was the only student with a disability. He was eager to study architecture at Pratt Institute, but had to withdraw because of inaccessibility issues.

Constance Laymon’s passion for self-directed living started but did not end with herself. Paralyzed in a fall at age 17, she discovered her life’s work when she took a job at the Capital District Center for Independence, helping develop a program to offer people with disabilities more autonomy in their home care.

Terry Moakley was a key player in the movement to make transportation accessible to people with disabilities. Any time someone boards an accessible bus in New York City or elsewhere, they have him to thank. After graduating from St. John’s University at the height of the Vietnam War, Terry enlisted in the Marine Corps. While serving stateside, he broke his neck and was left with quadriplegia. 

Michael Peluso spent three decades as an impassioned advocate for the rights of people with disabilities: offering peer support, managing programs, building coalitions, and lobbying legislators on the state and federal levels. As a student at Syracuse in the 1970s, Michael was in a traumatic accident that left him with quadriplegia.