More than 45 years after it was first created, the handicap symbol is getting a significant redesign, at least in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently signed into law the measure, making New York the first state in the nation to replace the universal symbol with a modified version, according to the sponsors of the bill.
“New York is again leading the way by being the first state in the Nation to update our outdated ‘handicap’ signs with a more active, engaging symbol. Working together we will continue to be a shining example for disability rights throughout the country,” Sen. David Carlucci (D) said in a statement. He and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D) co-sponsored the bill, which has no fiscal impact as it only requires new signs to carry the updated icon and which also drops the word “handicapped” from signs and communications in favor of the word “accessible.”
Freedom’s Wings (FWI) is a non-profit organization run by and for people with physical disabilities. They provide the opportunity for those who are physically challenged to fly in specially adapted sailplanes, either as a passenger or as a member of the flight training program.
On September 12, when we arrived at the Blairstown Airport for the Life Challenge event, it was a gorgeous morning. We felt something special was going to happen. And special is just what occurred.
Twelve amazing participants left their fear behind on the ground as they all took flight in Gliders provided by Freedom Wings International. What an incredible sight to see!
We witnessed first-hand and up-close how they approached this challenge with eyes wide open — and they did not waiver at all. It was inspiring to play a small part in helping each and every person into the cockpit for their Glider flight.
That’s what Life Challenge is all about. In these high-level adventure trips, participants with SCI, along with family members and friends, face obstacles together. Through problem solving and teamwork comes a realization: “If I can do this, I can do anything.”
Since its inception in 2003, 36 Life Challenge Trips have taken place involving 246 people with SCI. Life Challenge has received generous support from the Ethan Ruby Foundation, the New York Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, helping to off-set the costs for participants. The program is coordinated by Jim Cesario, MA.