Follow Roosevelt Islander On:

Facebook

And

Twitter

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RIRA Passes Resolution Supporting Depiction of FDR As A Disabled Person Utilizing A Wheelchair Or Crutches For Roosevelt Island's Four Freedoms Park

Children Standing Next To FDR Wheelchair Statue in Washington DC Image From Carol

On June 3, 2009 the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) adopted the following resolution supporting a plan for the proposed Four Freedoms Park at Roosevelt Island's Southpoint Park that includes a depiction of FDR as a disabled person utilizing a wheelchair or crutches. The Resolution states:
RESOLUTION REGARDING MEMORIAL DEPICTION OF PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT IN THE PLANS FOR THE FOUR FREEDOMS MEMORIAL PARK

WHEREAS from its initial planning stages, Roosevelt Island was conceived as a place in New York City that could be accessible and comfortable to disabled residents; and

WHEREAS we live in the America of President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor - the America where now more than ever before we are witness to an unprecedented abundance of role models from previously underrepresented segments of society, who have overcome racial, ethnic, and class struggles to rise to the highest levels of leadership; and

WHEREAS before them was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who despite being disabled by Polio and confined to a wheelchair, was elected President of the United States, and is now remembered as one of the most effective and courageous men to have led this country; and

WHEREAS just as school aged children have been awakened to aspire to higher achievements, once thought to be beyond their grasp, a memorial depicting President Roosevelt, as he truly lived, in a wheelchair or on crutches, would have the same effect on the disabled community to see that one of our most beloved presidents was able to overcome his disability and be elected to the highest office in the country; and

WHEREAS the continued resident population of Roosevelt Island, uniquely composed in significant part of many disabled persons, residing both independently in apartments or within the two chronic care hospitals located on the island, renders a true portrayal of President Roosevelt more meaningful and poignant on Roosevelt Island than any in any other location; and

THEREFORE, NOW BE IT RESOLVED that the Roosevelt Island Residents Association supports a plan for the Four Freedoms Park that includes a celebration of President Roosevelt as a disabled person by depicting him in a wheelchair or on crutches.

-Adopted by the Common Council of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association 6/3/09
RIRA now joins with the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA) and the Executive Director of the Coler Goldwater Hospital in recognizing the local and national importance of including a depiction of President Roosevelt as a disabled person, first raised by Roosevelt Island's Doctor Jack Resnick, and calls for the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) to include such a depiction in their proposed Four Freedoms Park.

Doctor Resnick proposed:
... The FDR Memorial on this Island should focus on the President’s strength in conquering his disability. Many possibilities come to mind. For instance, he should not be memorialized with a bust. We should see a greater-than-life-sized statue of him sitting in a wheelchair – and he should face north toward Goldwater and Coler Hospitals....
RIDA previously issued this statement calling for the recognition of FDR as a disabled person:
On behalf of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association and it's many disabled members we want to voice our opposition to a glaring deficit in the current proposal for the FDR Memorial to be built at the Southern tip of Roosevelt Island.

President Roosevelt was disabled by Polio before he was elected President of the United States and used a wheelchair almost exclusively. A statue of President Roosevelt sitting in a wheelchair or standing with the help of his crutches would be most appropriate here on an Island where many disabled people reside, both in apartments and in the two chronic care hospitals. In the same manner that our first black president, Barack Obama, has inspired so many school- aged black children to aspire to higher achievements, once thought to be impossible, would have the same effect on the disabled community when viewing a statue of one of our most beloved presidents and realizing that he, too, was disabled and was able to overcome his disability and be elected to the highest office in the country. What an inspiration that would be for the multitude of disabled visitors, especially our wheelchair bound war veterans returning from Iraq, to visualize that despite their disability anything is possible. The memorial, as shown in the artist's sketches. does not portray FDR as disabled and we feel that this is an injustice to us all. It is said that “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this instance, a statue of FDR depicted as our first disabled President would speak volumes to the millions of visitors, disabled and non-disabled who will be visiting The FDR Memorial for generations to come.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association Board of Directors and it's members
In order to incorporate The Four Freedoms aspect to a FDR Memorial depicting his use of a wheelchair or crutches, each of the four sides of such a statue's base could be engraved with one the Four Freedoms.

The decision as to what a FDR Memorial on Roosevelt Island will ultimately be is in the hands of the Roosevelt Island Board of Directors, of which 7 of the 9 are residents of Roosevelt Island. As stated in the February 6, 2009 Conditional Designation Letter (Page 1) for the proposed FERI supported FDR Memorial:
... RIOC retains all rights at any time to revoke this Agreement and the FDR Project will be subject to approval by RIOC's Board of Directors...
A vote of the RIOC Board may be scheduled for the June 25 meeting at which time the RIOC Board can reject FERI's proposal unless it includes a depiction of FDR as called for in the RIRA Resolution and RIDA letter. Let's hope that the Roosevelt Island resident RIOC Board members support their neighbors in RIRA, RIDA and all those around the nation who have overcome great personal hardships and challenges, including our returning disabled war veterans, by supporting a FDR Roosevelt Island Memorial that includes a depiction of his use of a wheelchair or crutches.

Please, somebody try and tell me that this picture of the little girl on crutches walking next to the Washington DC FDR Wheelchair Statue is not a more appropriate and inspirational model for Roosevelt Island's Four Freedoms Park


than this FERI proposed sterile, granite, Louis Kahn designed Mausoleum room with a bust of FDR.


FDR Memorial Room Image From Village Voice Runnin Scared Blog

1 comments :

Anonymous said...

WHEREAS Frank Farance and RIRA think they have the right to tell everyone what to do. Now they want to tell the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI) how to do what they have worked for all these years. AMAZING!