The Disability Education and Advocacy Network of Western New York (DEAN) was founded by a dedicated group of people with disabilities and their allies in 2011. Buffalo and Western New York have for decades provided fertile ground for the growth of a wide-ranging field of advocates and activists, who for years have fought tirelessly for the integration of disabled people into the community. Yet these groups have almost always acted alone.
In 2011, a core group of about twelve people came together determined to unite disabled people in their fight for social justice. Individually, various people with disabilities and service and other organizations had been engaging in creative and effective projects, but the founding members of DEAN knew that together we could affect real lasting change!
Early DEAN meetings had no agenda, participants voiced their thoughts and concerns and together DEAN members created a plan of action. Since 2011, the DEAN has planned, sponsored, cosponsored, and participated in numerous events in around Buffalo all dedicated to educating the public by sharing the real everyday lived experiences of people with disabilities. DEAN members are interested in a wide ranging list of topics and concerns, such as housing, transportation, recreation, education, arts and culture, and of course activism! We are always open to new ideas and new activities.Since those early days, the DEAN has become more organized. We have a website! And we became officially incorporated in the state of New York as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization in March 2015. We are now officially DEAN, Inc.!
Anyone who has an open mind and is dedicated to social justice can become a member of DEAN there are no fees and there are no qualifications. We meet about every 4 – 6 weeks. Times and locations of our meetings are posted well in advance. Please sign up for our mailing list and attend our next meeting!