Crosier honored for helping people with disabilities

Barbara Crosier

Barbara Crosier

EAST BERNE — Barbara Crosier of East Berne will be recognized for her work helping people with cerebral palsy.

She is the vice president for government relations for Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State and has been named recipient of the 15th annual Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day Dr. Henry Viscardi Jr. Advocacy Award.

“I’m honored and humbled,” Crosier said of receiving the award. She added, “The people who work in the field are the unsung heroes.”

The award honors Viscardi’s “lifelong commitment to advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.” Viscardi served as disability advisor to eight United States Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and became one of the world’s leading advocates for people with disabilities.

Crosier will be presented with the award during the 10 a.m. opening ceremony of the annual New York State Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day on May 29 in the Legislative Office Building in Albany.

One of the initiatives she’s proudest of is called “Inclusive Democracy in Action.” She explained that people with disabilities along with those who care for them will, at one time or another, come to the state capitol where visits are arranged with their senator or assembly member.

“We’ve had lots of budget cuts,” Crosier said, and these personal meetings impress on legislators the needs of those with disabilities — “sometimes very physically involved people” — and also empower those who have visited, and been part of the democratic process.

Crosier called people with disabilities “the real heroes,” and said most of us take for granted the lives we lead with ease that they have to strive so hard for.

Crosier joined Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State in 1994. “I answered an ad,” she said simply of what has led to nearly a quarter century of work.

She had formerly worked for the Healthcare Association of New York State and the New York State Senate Finance Committee. Crosier has nearly 30 years of experience negotiating for legislation; organizing lobby days, rallies, and other public-education efforts; and preparing and presenting testimony, position papers and policy analysis.

She responds to legislative staff and member requests on a variety of issues of interest and concern to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. She has a bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in public policy from Rockefeller College at the University of Albany.

Crosier concluded, “Most advocates do it for the passion. We want to help people live their lives independently as possible.”

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