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April 19, 2006

Robert David Hall to be Grand Marshal of 2006 Disability Pride Parade

Contact: Bill Thomasson


CHICAGO, April 6, 2006 – The planning committee for the 2006 Disability Pride Parade is pleased to announce that the Parade’s Grand Marshal will be disability activist and actor Robert David Hall, featured as coroner Dr. Al Robbins on the award-winning television show CSI. The parade, officially designated “DISABLED AND PROUD 2006: Celebrating Disability Arts and Culture,” will take place on July 22, the Saturday preceding the anniversary of adoption of the Americans with Disabilities Act. For the first time in its three-year history, the parade will follow a route through Chicago’s Loop to end at Daley Plaza.

Hall is one of the most prominent disabled actors working today. In addition to his role in CSI, Hall was featured as a burn survivor in “Class Action,” a role that closely paralleled his real-life experience. In 1978, an 18-wheel truck struck Hall’s car and caused the gas tank to explode. Hall was burned over 65% of his body and his legs were amputated. Today, as seen on CSI, he walks comfortably on prosthetic legs.

Hall is not only a recognized actor but also a committed disability rights activist. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Organization on Disability and is National Chairman of the Performers with Disabilities Caucus for the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and EQUITY. He is also on the boards of the Mark Taper Forum’s “Other Voices” Project and the Media Access Office.

In 1998 Robert David Hall won the Harold Russell Award from the Media Access Office, presented to the actor who best serves as a role model for other actors with disabilities. In addition to being a frequent speaker for such organizations as the Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities, The Amputee Coalition of America, and the World Burn Congress, he visits recent amputees as a member of the Mutual Amputee Foundation.

“I'm thrilled to be returning to Chicago and extremely honored to be this year's Disability Pride Parade Grand Marshall,” Hall says. “As one of a handful of actors with a visible disability who work in television, I know how difficult it can be for a person with a disability to make a living in the arts. Indeed, there are huge gaps across the board between able-bodied and disabled citizens in employment, education, and general opportunity. These disparities bring us together as people with disabilities -- we're proud of who we are, our talents, and what we contribute. We're fighting for full inclusion in every area and level of American life: This Parade is another piece of that puzzle.”

“I'm going to have a good time on July 22nd with my friend, playwright Mike Ervin, and everyone who joins in the festivities,” he adds.

The mission of the Disability Pride Parade is: “to change the way people think about and define ‘disability;’ to break down and end the internalized shame among people with disabilities; and to promote the belief in society that disability is a natural and beautiful part of human diversity in which people living with disabilities can take pride.” The parade is an annual event that celebrates and strengthens the pride, power, and unity of people with disabilities, their families, and allies, and serves to generate national visibility for the disability community.

“I can think of no one better to lead the Disability Pride Parade this year,” says Parade Planning Committee Co-Chair Janice Stashwick. “Mr. Hall embodies the spirit of living with pride and dignity as a person—and an artist—with a disability.”

The first Disability Pride Parade was held in 2004, using as seed money the 2002 Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Award honorarium presented to Sarah Triano, an upcoming leader in the disability rights movement. The planning committee for that first parade expected 500-600 participants; more than 1500 ultimately participated. For 2006, the planning committee expects between 4000 and 5000 participants, with many coming from other states and even foreign countries.

Check out the parade’s website,, for more information, including sponsorship opportunities and online registration, which begins April 15.
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Note to editors: A photo of Hall is available on request.