Apologize for Violating the Americans With Disabilities Act - And Fix Your Space

This petition made change with 159 supporters!

On June 4th, 2018, Lynn Zelvin - a blind person with a service dog - was turned away from Stonewall Inn. Stonewall Inn is a historic place that helped propel queer rights to the forefront of the US consciousness. It exists because of a disabled trans woman of color, Marsha Johnson. Two friends, Isabella Maxine Kalish and Elena Gibbs, were with Lynn as they explained that turning them away was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Several employees were involved, including a manager named Mike. 

The following is from the YouTube video of the event on Isabella's page (of which a transcript is available here):

'I firsthand witnessed my blind friend and their service dog were illegally denied entrance into the Stone Wall Inn. This is a harsh reality that people with service animals have to deal with on the regular day-to-day basis.

It is illegal to deny entree, the law directly from the website states:
“Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), privately owned businesses that serve the public, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, taxicabs, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities, are prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires these businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.”

We read the Disability Act directly from the website and it was disregarded by the bouncers. It was illegal to do what they did. It is against the law to ask for paperwork.

After waiting for 20 minutes, the manager still didn’t come out. My friend and I went in to talk to the manager to let our friend in, but he would barely say more than a few words to us.

The manager didn’t care and shrugged it off without even coming out to speak to them.

We went to a different bar and the bouncer accommodated us 100% and concurred that what they did was illegal.

Nobody else in the queue to go in stepped out to defend my friend. This is part of the harsh reality that blind people face every day.'

According to a story on Them - as well as social media - an apology has popped up. However, said apology falls incredibly short of actually addressing anything. It even pins all the blame on their third-party security staff - ignoring the part played by Mike, the manager.

I share Isabella's sentiments here as well:

"Stone Wall sent a copy and paste message to her, commented the same thing on my video, and also sent the same thing to a different writer. The fact that they're putting the blame.on security was disgusting. Their manager clearly said he didn't want a dog in the bar and didn't give my friend the time of day. They messed up big and are trying to weasel out of it by passing the blame onto other people rather than themselves who should really be blamed."

In order to rectify this situation, I ask Stonewall to do the following:

  • Hire an accessibility consultant to make their space accessible
  • Donate to disability organizations
  • Undergo disability sensitivity training
  • Stop violating the ADA


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