Chris Hilderbrant

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Chris Hilderbrant

Chris Hilderbrant is a longtime disability activist.

He is former Director of Advocacy and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the Center for Disability Rights and previously served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Common Ground Health.

Chief executive officer of Common Ground Health is Trilby de Jung said she and Hilderbrant "have worked on projects over the years."[1]

Equality, Pride and Unity Rally at Washington Square Park

Chris Hilderbrant was a speaker at the Equality, Pride and Unity Rally at Washington Square Park sponsored by the Rochester Gay Alliance in June 2017. According to a local report, the rally "addressed many social issues including trans rights, immigration rights, disability rights, worker rights, and senior rights."[2]

Long Term Care – The Elephant in the Healthcare Reform Room

Chris Hilderbrant wrote an article in 2009[3] for the Center for Disability Rights discussing his lobbying for federal funding for long-term care:

"All this time in D.C., we (CDR, ADAPT, CCI – many hats) have been trying to push our political leaders to reform our nation’s broken long term care system. Honestly, we’ve been trying to get them to understand our concerns and act on them for nearly two decades, but recently I was actually starting to feel a little optimistic.
Chris Hilderbrant
Why? Because now, healthcare reform is 'all the rage.'"


"There’s a handful of representatives trying to raise the issue. Senator Jay Rockefeller had a long term care hearing last week. He even called me up to the table to speak impromptu for two minutes. He and I spoke for another five minutes after the hearing. Senator Chuck Schumer has heard from advocates across N.Y. for many years that the Community Choice Act and community-based services are crucial, so his staff are trying to bring up the issue."

Arrests in 2002

Below is a first-hand account from Bruce Darling about a "direct action" protest in 2002:[4]

"Some of us were able to put into practice what we learned about civil disobedience from Bob and Stephie a few days later when we went to Albany and were part of the ADAPT action there. The action turned out to be very exciting and quite effective. Our message was heard --loud and clear. For the first time we had a large crowd. In past Olmstead actions, in Albany, we never had more than 50 people. This time, because many of the (independent living) people that attended the "Our Homes Not Nursing Homes" Conference joined us, we had about 200 people. And for the first time there were arrests. Eight people were arrested, two of us from NYC - myself and Dina Niedelman (with her little dog Tiny). So the State officials now know how serious we are. We also got lots of media coverage, most of it very positive."


"Mel Tanzman, Nadina LaSpina, T.K. Small and I (Bruce Darling) went to meet with Mr. Wolner. At this point, it seems someone from the state decided to 'show us' that direct action doesn't work. Mr. Wolner didn't show up for the meeting. We waited nearly 45 minutes for him and then returned to the Health Department Tower where we instructed everyone to leave the building.
"We exited the building and lined up in the Concourse. Kathleen Paultler was shouting, 'Grab a sign. Get in Line!' as loud as she could. We began marching to the Capital. It was awesome. The line seemed to go on forever. Looking back you were struck by the large numbers of people.
"We got to the elevators that took us up into the Capital Building and a group of about a dozen people got to the first floor before the elevators were shut down. Four people had made it up to the Governor's floor by elevator when State Troupers shut it down. Nadina LaSpina (NYC), Chris Hilderbrant (Rochester), Spitfire Sabel (Philadelphia, PA), and Ann Kaplow (Rochester). Four more came up by the stairs. Dina Niedelman (NYC) crawled with assistance from Larry Fein (Buffalo). Debbie Bonomo (Rochester) was carried part of the way by Bruce Darling (Rochester) and crawled the rest. In all, eight people got up to the second floor."
"The group was waiting in the Concourse and cheered as each arrestee came out of the State Police Station. I was touched that Bonnie Shoultz was there waiting for us. We walked back to the hotel in single file where we got rooms for the extra people who stayed, including Larry and Todd Vaarwerk from Buffalo. We didn't get a meeting, but we knew we raised community awareness."