Bill Bronston and Friends: Introductions
Produced by Dr. David Goode
Produced in 2005
Dr.David Goode: I would welcome you to what is the first lecture, I think, on disabilities that the school of professional studies has put on. The purpose of having this lecture is so that I think these persons who are intensely interested in the field and devoted their life to it can hear about people who pioneered the field and have devoted their life to it. And it's kind of a great occasion and generational occasion in that respect.
The other pleasure is that, you know, I get to introduce you to my friend Bill Bronston, who is one of the great leaders in the field. Not that there aren't other ones standing up there as well, but Bill is a person who, you know, was very instrumental in closing down Willowbrook State School. And then various other persons who are back there, they also have their own roles in this, you know, history [War].
So let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Bill also. Bill's a medical doctor. He was part of the radical medical establishment in the 1960s and ended up here in the 1970s when he got a job at Willowbrook. So he has various kinds of associations. He's a very unique personage in my view, because he's a medical doctor, but I hear very few medical doctors speak like Bill.
Bill Bronston MD: What I want to do is, I would like to have my friends who were really on the line, I mean who were really the cutting edge leaders, talk about who they were, how they came to be in the struggle, what they felt essentially was changed, really changed, and what was not changed.
Ed [Goldman] was the Commissioner for Mental Retardation for the State of Pennsylvania and was fired by the governor of the state because he publicly attacked the fact that they kept children in cages in their major institution in Pennsylvania.
Diana McCord is a carpenter. And she is also is the mother of a young woman with cerebral palsy who was in Willowbrook. I never met her daughter in all these years. So sooner or later we've got to happen. And her husband, and Diana - husband's name is Malachy McCord - were very, very involved at the front of the struggle.
Mark Marcario was a dad that I met, who sold home heating oil at the time and he had a son with Down Syndrome who is now in his 40s. And Mark was the head of Down Syndrome Family Organization in Staten Island, and they were like my lifeline.
Gene [Eisner] was my total lifesaver because when the fight really began at Willowbrook, I needed a mother and a lawyer and a guardian and a gunman, and Gene was one of the top aggressive lawyers in the City of New York at the time.
So each of them had their hand on the struggle from a different place. Eddy was not in New York at the time, but he was fighting his fight. And Ronnie Cohn, forgive me Ronnie. Ronnie is a unique angel in this whole struggle. She came a tad later. As you can see, she is slightly younger than the rest of us.
When the federal court put the place in receivership, because the State of New York could not be trusted with solving the problem, they were... they had demonstrated their absolute resistance to any resolution of the problem. Nothing has changed today. They are the same people. It's nicer, you know, whatever it is. Anyway, so Ronnie worked as a key administrator and now is a national consultant and schleps around the country doing these angelic things to kind of break people out of bondage, which they still exist in everywhere.