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About Us

Our Mailing Address is:
Post Office Box 30954
Port Authority Station
New York, NY 10011-0109

Tel. & Fax 646-504-4342
or if hearing impaired, use 711 relay service

May 2006 ACTIVIST newsletter featuring an article entitled Duane Reade Case Settled! Access Is Good For Business

What is Disabled in Action?
What are DIA's Objectives?
How does DIA Accomplish its Goals?
How is DIA Organized?
What is DIA's History?
Membership Application

What Is Disabled in Action (DIA)?

We are a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination against people with disabilities — all disabilities. We fight to eliminate the barriers that prevent us from enjoying full equality in American society. Founded in 1970, DIA is a democratic, not-for-profit, tax-exempt, membership organization. DIA consists primarily of and is directed by people with disabilities. We believe in the motto, "Nothing about us without us!"

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What Are DIA's Objectives?
  • To raise consciousness among people with or without disabilities concerning ableism, paternalism and derogatory attitudes, as well as laws and customs that oppress disabled individuals in American society.

  • To enact and enforce effective legislation and budget initiatives promoting our ability to live independently by mandating equal access to:

    • Education
    • Employment
    • Entitlements
    • Health Care
    • Housing
    • Personal Assistance Services
    • Public Accommodations
    • Telecommunications
    • Transportation

  • To provide the organizational basis for disabled activists to join in effective unified political action.

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How Does DIA Accomplish Its Goals?

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How Is DIA Organized?

Photo of Frieda Zames Membership in DIA is open to all who share our goals. Members are entitled to vote, run for office, receive our literature, and join committees.

DIA is governed by a President, Legislative Vice President, Public Relations Vice President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and a Board of Directors. Officers and Board Members are elected by and accountable to the general membership. DIA Officers & Board Members.

A new DIA chapter can be formed by any group willing to abide by DIA's principles. Approval by DIA of Metropolitan New York is legally required.

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What Is DIA's History?

Photo of Judy Heumann

Disabled in Action was organized in 1970 by Judy Heumann, a young militant disabled woman, and other disabled activists at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus. Ms. Heumann sued the New York City Board of Education when her application to obtain a teaching license was rejected because of her disability. Although the suit was settled out of court, the publicity it received served as the impetus for founding DIA.

Read what Judy Heumann has to say about growing up in Brooklyn, suing the Board of Ed and starting Disabled In Action.

** NEW ** Read the transcript of Judy Heumann's February 9, 2006 lecture at the University of Pittsburgh entitled "Including the Voices of Disabled People in the International Development Agenda" (content from


DIA received the Frederick Douglass Award in 1986 from the North Star Fund "for outstanding contributions to the struggle for political, social and economic justice... and for work that exemplifies the tradition of fighting for the rights of all people in the spirit of Frederick Douglass." North Star has generously funded DIA since 1979.


DIA believes that uniting the disability community in NYC, NYS and the entire nation is essential if we are to become a force for change. As a civil rights organization, DIA supports a society free, not only of ableism, but also of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and economic exploitation. DIA, therefore, joins with many organizations and coalitions in combating these injustices.


The One-Step-Campaign, a coalition initiated by DIA in 1991, promotes access to residences and public accommodations such as restaurants and stores by ramping the one-step barrier at entrances. If you live in New York City and want to participate in the program, you can use our ONE-STEP COMPLAINT FORM.


The Disabled In Action Singers
Formed in 1982, they spread the DIA message of civil and human rights for all people with songs of peace, freedom and struggle.

Listen to the Disabled In Action Singers audio online


Disabled In Action could not be as effective as it has been without the legal support of Brooklyn Legal Services and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

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This website was created and is maintained by Douglas Pucci

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