The DIA Singers were part of a revolution in human rights, the disability rights movement. They were the singing arm of Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York (DIA), founded in 1970 as a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination against people with all types of disabilities. Growing out of informal hootenannies at DIA annual parties, The DIA Singers sang extensively in all five boroughs and Westchester County, including various civic groups, the Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival, Pete Seeger’s Coalition of Choruses in New York City, and a variety of organizations from libraries and schools to the former New York Telephone Company. The group has also performed in the first Boston Folk Festival. Their last concert was in 2010.
Although no longer active, their goal was to spread the message that people with disabilities demand to be first class citizens, and fight to eliminate the barriers that prevent us from enjoying full equality in society. They found that the humanity of song was always able to say what words alone can not.
The songs deal with many issues including housing accessibility and adaptability, AIDS, disabled infanticide, the
“advantages” of being disabled, and children’s curiosity about people with disabilities. Also featured are songs about a disability rights icon and a civil rights icon and issues of self-identity, homelessness, the death penalty, police violence against people of color, and courage in the face of adversity. Just like the strong personalities of The DIA Singers, humor and satire are throughout their songs. We honor the great work they did with links below to their albums.
See and listen to their two albums below.
You may be able to see a video of the DIA Singers on YouTube.