2019 Inductees

The Disability Rights Hall of Fame Selection Committee and NYSILC Board of Directors were honored to recognize five inductees to the 2019 NYS Disability Rights Hall of Fame, Thursday, June 13, 2019.  The following people have been outstanding leaders and advocates for people with disabilities in New York State, and beyond. 

Here is the complete program for the event: 2019 HOF Program

Bruce Darling has spent more than three decades advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. In his many roles - as CEO of the Center for Disability Rights and the Rochester-based Regional Center for Independent Living; president of the National Council on Independent Living; vice-chair of the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC), and national organizer for ADAPT.

Maria Dibble entered the disability rights arena in the early 1980s, a time when “accessibility” was little more than a word in the dictionary for those outside the disability community. In New York’s Southern Tier, that began to change when Maria, newly graduated from college, rejected suggestions that she seek employment in a sheltered workshop and co-founded the Southern Tier Independence Center (STIC).

Denise Figueroa’s personal experiences with disability influenced her decision to pursue a life of advocacy – a decision that was sealed during her years at Brooklyn College, when she met other students with disabilities involved in the burgeoning disability rights movement. She earned the Dr. Vera B. Dowd Award for College and Community Service, City of New York, while still an undergraduate, for her volunteer efforts advocating for disability rights in educational settings. 

Over her five-decade career as a disability rights advocate, Bobbi Linn has served as a role model demonstrating how a person with a significant developmental disability can run an agency and serve as a community leader, and how a person with a speech disability can effectively speak out for change.

In 1952, Vocational Rehabilitation evaluators advised 17-year-old Sandra Schnur to go into basket weaving. She informed them that she wanted to go to college – a request that led her to be labeled “uncooperative.” Despite this discouragement, Sandra earned both a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and a master’s from New York University, both in counseling.