Geraldo Rivera helped cut the ribbon to Willowbrook Walk, a mile-long path to honor people who suffered at Willowbrook State School, today, September 14.
The reporter who exposed the horror of Willowbrook was joined by William Fritz and Michael Kress of the College of Staten Island (CSI); Diane Buglioli, Co-Chair of the event and Deputy Executive Director of A Very Special Place; NYS Assemblyman Michael Cusick; and many others, including Bernard Carabello, a former resident of Willowbrook State School who now works a patient advocate for the NYS Office of People With Developmental Disabilities.
“I came to this place as a local reporter for Channel 7, Eyewitness News,” Rivera told
reporter Joseph Padalino. “I had some doctors who told me I had to come and see how bad conditions were here. They got me a key so I could get in and film the conditions, which I did.”
“The problem wasn’t that people didn’t care.” Rivera continued. “The problem was that the whole notion that you could mass-produce care for the developmentally disabled the way you mass produce cars was very deeply flawed. It was doomed to fail. It was very archaic and it was primitive and thank God it’s now part of distant history.”
“I’d been at Willowbrook for 18 years!” Carabello told reporter Dolores Palermo. He said it was “bad, bad. The worst place I ever lived. Geraldo came and asked for me at Willowbrook. And that’s how I got out. He got me out. Now I work for OPWDD. I’m an advocate. I advocate for people who can’t talk for themselves.”
“I’m just so proud to be a part of this,” Cusick told reporter Gregory Perosi. “…because this will show the history of Willowbrook and what it has become.”
Mr. Padalino observed that if not for people like Rivera, “I would have been in Willowbrook, but I wasn’t. Thank you very much, Mr. Rivera.”
The Willowbrook MIle is a self-guided tour of the former campus of the State School. It spans the campus of the College of Staten Island and New York State properties that still house services for people with disabilities. Stations on the walk include a commemorative Memorial Garden Plaque, Building 29 which housed more than 100 residents, The Willowbrook Archives and Special Collections at CSI, the Institute for Basic Research, and the Elizabeth Connelly Center.
For more information on the Willowbrook Mile and to download their brochure, visit there website at http://willowbrookmile.csi.cuny.edu/about-willowbrook-mile.
– This article was written by the Life-Wire News Service staff, with specific contributions by Anthony DiFato, Anthony Buscarello, Jonathan Chernok, Anthony Kefalinos, Joseph Jones, Dolores Palermo, Joseph Padalino, and Gregory Perosi with Kathryn Carse and Edward Gregory.
Today, recent graduates met on the field at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in St. George for the 5th Annual High School Baseball Senior Game and Autism Awareness Fundraiser. The game, hosted by 1 on 1 Physical Therapy, raised awareness for autism by honoring Julianna Russo and Anthony DiMasi. The contest also honored the memory of coach Gordon Rugg, by retiring his number, 21. Life-Wire News Service video coverage is coming soon. Meanwhile, please enjoy the following moments by our photography crew.
Porto-Muiños is a company that collects and packs seaweed, for consumption and cosmetics to many countries including the United States. NWNPhoto, our news bureau in Spain, accompanied a Porto-Muiños diver to cook and collect seaweed.
According to Jose Martínez Photographer (in Spanish), “I really like the experience. To take living things in your hands is wonderful, a special feeling. I enjoyed trying seaweed. Barnacle-flavored seaweeds are my favorite. There was also one that tastes like green cucumber. I’m curious. I want to eat a meal cooked in seaweed. I would like to know how the cosmetics made with seaweed, and visit the facilities of the company.”
Photographer Carlos Martínez added (in Spanish), “I love to go to photograph seaweed. I was impressed by the waves, landscape. I thought of the danger that exists for divers and also for people who collect barnacles that were in the same area. I have not eaten seaweed because I do not like eating raw sea stuff. I liked seeing and hearing Anton (the diver). I’m curious about diving.”
On the Porto-Muñios website, there are many recipes with seaweed.
NWNPhoto, an agency of photographers with intellectual disabilities located in various Spanish cities, partners with Life-Wire News Service by sharing photo features that capture life and culture in Spain. These photographs were taken in Barizo – Malpica (Galicia, northwest Spain) by NWNPhoto Photographers: Jose Martínez and Carlos Martínez, for Life-Wire News Service.
-This article was written by Anthony DiFato and Steven Filoramo and edited by Edward Gregory, based on text provided by NWNPhoto.
In the film, True Smile, two brothers ride a tandem bike from Spain to Morocco. The brothers, spoke with Life-Wire News Service’s Samuel Stone at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) on Manor Road, Staten Island as part of the ReelAbilities Film Festival on March 16th, 2016, hosted by Christina Tesoriero, Director of Special Needs Services for the JCC.
This introduction was written, in part, with the words of Gregory Perosi, edited by Edward Gregory.
Our Lady of Captives Procession, Holy Week 2016, Ferrol, Spain. This 400-year-old tradition is the first photo-feature by our Spanish news bureau, NWNPhoto, an agency of photographers with intellectual disabilities working for new opportunities for inclusion, creativity, fun and cultural understanding through photography.
Photographs by Dani Bellas and Robertinho Romero of NWNPhoto for Life-Wire News Service.
The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council (SIDDC) took their message to legislators across Staten Island on Friday, January 29. Here is their exchange with Senator Andrew Lanza outside his office in Eltingville. Organizing the event was Michael Wienberg, SIDDC Chair, with Barbara Devaney and Donna Long, advocacy co-chairs.
You can add your voice to their call for housing for people with developmental disabilities and increase salaries for direct care workers by sending a letter to
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NYS Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Mayor Bill De Blasio
NY, NY 10007.
Covering the story for Life-Wire News Service:
with Megan Welch and Edward Gregory
Produced by Joseph Maturi
The Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council took their message on the road Friday, bringing its Legislative Rally to legislators across Staten Island. Here is their first stop, where Senator Anthony Lanza had a spirited discussion with the Council regarding new housing for people with disabilities and increasing salaries for direct care professionals.
A video of the rally will follow.
Photos: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.