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Old 03-19-2014, 02:33 AM
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Soapbox Harlem activist and disability advocate Pamela Bates dies

from The NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...icle-1.1724701
Harlem activist and disability advocate Pamela Bates dies
Pamela Bates was the founder and president of the disability committee at the National Action Network and a member of Community Board 10. She was 72.
By Michael J. Feeney / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 17, 2014, 5:58 PM
Pamela Bates, a beloved community board member who earned praise from both the disabled residents she championed and leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton, has died. She was 72.

The lifelong activist and dedicated member of Community Board 10 as well as Sharpton’s National Action Network, died on Friday, board members said.

“I was absolutely stunned,” said Sharpton, who said Bates regularly attended Saturday rallies at NAN headquarters on W. 145th St. “It’s a big loss and an irreplaceable loss to the disability community and the black community.”

Bates was the founder and president of the Disability Committee at the National Action Network.

“She had more energy than people in the youth department,” said Sharpton. “She would push me on disability issues. She would say ‘Don’t feel sorry for me,’ and get to the issue.”

He even joked with her that she should have been a preacher. “She had real power, real presence,” he added.

Community Board 10 Chairwoman Henrietta Lyle wrote in an e-mail that Bates “kept us abreast of disability policies, and made sure that all new developers and businesses were in compliance with the American Disability Act.”

“Pam will be terribly missed by the community and of course Community Board 10,” added Lyle. “We salute Pam’s commitment to working for the betterment of the community.”
Details surrounding Bates’ death were not immediately clear, but board members and Sharpton said she had been frequently hospitalized with a string of “health concerns.”

Community Board 10 member Stanley Gleaton described Bates, who used a wheelchair to navigate her Harlem neighborhood, as an “integral member” of the board who educated the community on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which outlines accessibility requirements for buildings. She was also a past president of the 504 North Star Democratic Club, which also advocated for residents with disabilities.

“Any project that came before the board, she always wanted to know whether it was ADA compliant,” said Gleaton. “She was always fighting for a cause. She got the job done.”

Brian Benjamin, 2nd vice chair of Community Board 10, said Bates’ commitment and dedication was inspiring.

“She never let her disability stop her from fighting for her community. She made her voice known,” Benjamin said. “Her voice will be sorely missed.”

She is survived by a daughter, two sons and grandchildren.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz2wO6mXjQ6
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