Hi everyone, I’m Marie, and I’m a SARTAC Fellow with VOICE. My organizing journey started in 2007 when I went to my first Self Advocacy meeting. I was tired of being picked on and told that I couldn’t do things because of my disability. My experience with the disability rights movement helped me be a better self advocate because I learned to speak up against bullying and other wrongdoing.
I joined VOICE in 2012 after the NFTA announced a 22% reduction in bus service. I became a member of Transit Riders United, and went to National Leadership Training in February 2012. That’s where I learned skills I needed to become the Chairperson of Transit Riders United. We ended up convincing the NFTA to lower the planned bus cut from 22% to 6%, but there’s a lot of work still to do with fixing transit in Buffalo. In 2014, I became the first person with disabilities to become a trainer at (Gamaliel) National Leadership Training, and in 2016 I became the Chairperson of VOICE’s Accessibility Task Force.