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Rutherford Residents Participate in the 4th Annual Disability Pride Parade

Updated: May 31

By Jennifer Ersalesi

Photo credits: Norman Rosenblum

On Saturday, May 18th, Rutherford residents Kyra and Alexi Cioffi participated in the 4th Annual Disability Pride Parade in Montclair. The parade began at Heningburg Field and continued to Rand Park where guest singers, speakers, and artists gathered to share their creativity and unique talents.

Dr. Priya Lalvani, Professor of Disability Studies and Coordinator of the Graduate Programs in Inclusive Education at Montclair State University, and Alma Schneider, founder of the Montclair Friday Support Group (a weekly in-person and online group for parents of children with disabilities in the Montclair area), organized this event. The Montclair Friday Support Group, MSU's Disability Caucus, and the Montclair People with Disabilities Advisory Committee sponsored the parade.

Kyra Cioffi

Kyra Cioffi sang, "Rise Up" by Andra Dray (view the video with this link) and her sister Alexi read aloud the poetry she wrote back in 2022 with Soma - Rapid Prompting Method’s Creator/Halo Founder (view the video with this link). Comedian Steve Way was scheduled to speak at the event but could not attend. His friend Rich Wolfson, an MSU Professor, read his speech for him.

Alexi Cioffi and her mother Annika Cioffi

Montclair's Mayor-elect Renee Baskerville, Councilman Bob Russo, and Senator John McKeon were the local officials who attended and supported the parade that assembled individuals with disabilities and allies. Parade organizer, Dr. Lalvani explained, "Inclusiveness is an act. It involves providing access, not just spaces, but also to communication, participation, and interaction."

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