2021 David Veatch Advocacy Achievement Award
The David Veatch Advocacy Achievement Award is presented during the NYAIL Statewide Conference to an individual who has shown a passion for advocacy for individuals with all types of disabilities. In presenting this award, we keep alive the memory and spirit of David Veatch, a tireless activist for people with disabilities.
NYAIL is pleased to announce Diane Coleman as the 2021 recipient of the David Veatch Advocacy Achievement Award.
A picture of Diane Coleman. A white woman with light color hair wearing an oxygen mask.
 Diane Coleman is the President and CEO of Not Dead Yet, a national disability rights group which she founded in 1996 to give voice to disability rights opposition to legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia. Prior to that, she served for three years as Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester, New York and twelve years as Executive Director of Progress Center for Independent Living in Forest Park, Illinois. Ms. Coleman has presented invited testimony four times before Subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. She is a well-known writer and speaker on assisted suicide and euthanasia, and has appeared on national television news broadcasts for Nightline, CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC and others, as well as National Public Radio. She co-authored Amicus Briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court and various state courts on behalf of Not Dead Yet and other national disability organizations on the topics of assisted suicide and surrogate health care decision making. She has a law degree and Masters in Business Administration from UCLA. From 2003 to 2008, she was a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago and co- taught two graduate courses in disability and medical ethics. Ms. Coleman is a person with neuromuscular disabilities who has used a motorized wheelchair since the age of eleven.
Remembering David
A picture of David Veatch in his power chair A picture of David Veatch in his power chair in an elevatorA photo of David Veatch speaking at a press conference
David Veatch was a young man who was a staunch advocate for home care and consumer-directed personal assistance services throughout New York State. Originally from Long Island, David received his education at Syracuse University, where he majored in journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He was President of the Organization for Disabled Students (ODS) and was news editor of Interact, a school-wide video/text system. 
Before graduating from Syracuse in 1987, David shepherded several initiatives to make life easier for disabled students on campus. Among those initiatives was; “adopt an administrator,” new curb cuts for sidewalks, and having the elevator in Hendricks Chapel renovated. Throughout his time at Syracuse and for his short career after college, he was a tireless advocate for individuals with disabilities. He spoke at rallies and confronted the policies of Governor Mario Cuomo before the media and a legislative committee. On March 10, 1993, at the age of 26, David died while preparing for a protest.