City Council staffer is voice for disabled New Yorkers

For the first time in New York City history, the nearly 1 million disabled New Yorkers have a voice at the City Council. And that voice is Anastasia Somoza.

"The City Council has never had a liaison to the disability community," Anastasia said. "So I cover accessibility and I also cover the Civil and Human Rights Committee."

Anastasia has lived much of her life in the spotlight. From a young age, she has fought for access for the disabled in schools.

"As a lifelong advocate, my mission has always been to humanize disability," she said in an interview with Fox 5 on the 28th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Anastasia is a graduate of some of the best schools in the world and has even spoken at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. But in this role, she feels she can make the biggest impact.

"I want to improve the day-to-day lives of New Yorkers with disabilities. I want it to be easier for New Yorkers to get around," she said. "I want it to be easier for disabled New Yorkers to access everything that the rest of you take for granted."

Anastasia has only been on the job for three months but already she is making waves. She is working on the recent plastic straw ban, which greatly impacts some disabled New Yorkers. She is also fighting for equal access for disabled children. These are small initiatives that could equal major change.

"Everyone seems to be quite excited that we are finally being seen and heard," Anastasia said.

In a statement, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson praised Anastasia.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have Anastasia at the Council to tackle the issue of accessibility and help us better serve the disabled community," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to working with Anastasia and our community engagement division to help make this city work for everyone."