On Valentine’s Day, self-advocates from AHRC Nassau traveled into New York City to show the love for direct support professionals (DSPs) at a #bFair2DirectCare rally, advocating for a DSP living wage. Hear their experiences:
My name is Edward Richardson and on Valentine’s Day, I went to Times Square with three of my friends, Vlad, Derek and Nefertiti, and two staff, Sue and Greg. We volunteered to be part of a #bFair2DirectCare rally. We took the LIRR from Freeport into Penn Station and then a subway to Duffy Square. When we arrived, we saw the billboard that stated #bFair2DirectCare. It was very exciting to see so many people there for the same cause. One of the speakers got everyone chanting, “We love our DSPs and put money in the budget to help keep them.” There was a seventy-three-year-old mother sharing her story of how she can no longer care for her child and how she relies on direct support staff to take care of him. There were about 150 people at the rally from other agencies. Most of the people there were from New York City and they were so happy to see that AHRC Nassau was involved. When the rally was over, we enjoyed a nice lunch and walked back to the subway. We ran into a gentleman named Mathew on the subway who is from AHRC NYC and he asked if we could share email addresses to keep each other informed of different events. Naturally, we said, “yes!” It was such a great day and a wonderful experience to interact with other people from New York City who were fighting for the same cause.
My name is Vladimir Noel and my experience at the rally was amazing. I was able to purchase the train tickets with minimal supports and enjoyed taking the train to the city. I enjoyed seeing people from other agencies and chanting, “We love our DSPs” together. The atmosphere in the city was very exciting! We got to see the #bFair2DirectCare billboard in person and it was so big! We passed by two people that were getting married, which was so interesting but not surprising since it was Valentine’s Day. At the rally, people were taking so many pictures and they loved our posters. A lady from another agency collected them and said she was going to make a collage out of them. I can’t wait to participate in another rally!
My name is Nefertiti Dolce and it was my first time going to Times Square in the city. I never saw so many people doing different things in the city. Some people were singing, some were playing instruments, and the Broadway shows had characters walking around everywhere. I took a great picture of the billboard about direct care staff and I can’t wait to go back again.
My name is Derek Carney and I loved going to the rally. Taking the train and subway was so much fun and the train conductor was so nice to us. When we got to Times Square, there were so many people and it was so exciting. Everyone was shouting chants about being fair to direct care staff and how we love them so much. I held up a poster and people took pictures of it and me. I can’t wait to do it again.