DARREN DIONE AQUINO
If we the People Don’t take a Stand, We Won’t Have a Stand
Darren Dione Aquino is the founder and CEO of Advocates for Disabled Americans, Veterans,Police, Firemen & Families (ADA VETs). Darren is a disabled American, who began advocating for himself and others in 1983. He defends the rights of, and advocates for, the disabled nationwide. He began
advocating for disabled individuals and their Social Security claims and other disability rights, concentrating on the inclusion of, and the fair and equal treatment of the disabled in our society.
His scope of assistance has since grown exponentially since the inception of his non-profit, which is a civil rights, advocacy organization, to include all age groups and all disabilities, from birth to senior.
He established this non-profit in 1999, the premise of which is to, a) uphold, defend, police and restore the constitutional promise of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act- the Federal law protecting the disabled), b) to ensure that all individuals with disabilities, whether they be young or old, are protected
and included as productive members of our society, c) to assist and inform disabled individuals of theirrights, and to function in society without barriers due to the disability.
The mission statement, goals and By-Laws, of the organization developed by Darren, are based on the guidelines of The Americans with Disabilities Act. All of the officers and volunteers of ADA VETs are required to take a sworn oath to adhere to and apply these guidelines while assisting disabled clients.
During his many years as an advocate, Darren has won many discrimination battles and has established a record of success with cases that involved the Social Security Administration, Board of Education, Early Intervention, Foster care, ACS, Corporate battles, State & local government issues and SAG (Screen Actors Guild), just to mention a few.
Darren is also an actor during his free time and played an integral role in enhancing the awareness of the fact that many talented and capable union disabled actors were overlooked for work in disabled roles. Through his efforts, disabled actors were hired for background and principle work, their disabilities werereal, and their parts surrounded the disability. After this issue was brought to the attention of Dick Wolf, Ted Kotcheff and Peter Leto, they embraced the cause and took action.
Darren has developed relationships with governmental offices, including the White House and officials, who have closely collaborated with him. He has collaborated closely with the Mayor’s Office of Disabilities in New York.
Among those that took a stand with Darren, were President Ronald Wilson Reagan (the inspiration of ADA VETs), President George Herbert Walker Bush, President George Bush, Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator John Thune, Senator John McCain, Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor George Pataki, Mayor
Rudolph Guiliani, the Capitol Police, Washington DC Police, the United States Secret Service, NYPD, FDNY, and former Justice of the United States, Sandra Day O’Connor. The list goes on.
Darren made ground breaking changes during President Ronald Reagan’s funeral. Through his relentless efforts, all disabled, which included disabled veterans, did not have to wait on line to view and pay their respects to the President during the services. The disabled were allowed in first, they were able
to pay their respects honorably. Darren also made changes during President George Bush’s inauguration when he went head to head with the new Commissioner at the time, Matt Sapolin. This became a long lasting friendship between Matt and Darren and they collaborated together until Matt Sapolin’s very
untimely death. Again, the disabled were seated first, access routes for the disabled were determined, full integration was realized.
Darren is a take charge leader and innovator. He developed this national non-profit with a unique concept, all members and volunteers are disabled. This comprehensive network of members and volunteers assist the disabled community with any and all issues related to the lack of societal integration
and fair and equal treatment. Darren has generated a network from state to state to ultimately guarantee equality where disability is concerned. This was achieved by inclusion of other disabled Americans, merchants and partners joining the network and collaboratively working together to meet this very important goal.
Darren also continues to provide outreach whereby educating the general public to realize that disabled individuals and their families play a vital role in society.