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SPEAC to hold its 2nd Red Carpet Event at the JCC in Oceanside


Members of the Special Advocacy Coalition will “SPEAC” their talents at the group’s second annual Red Carpet Event on Nov. 17.

Special Advocacy Coalition, otherwise known as SPEAC, is a community group that welcomes differently-abled adults to its meetings and encourages them to become their own advocates. Each month, roughly 15 people gather at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside to discuss issues facing those with special needs, such as housing, transportation, employment, social opportunities and inclusion.

“We talk about everyday issues,” said Ashley Gazes, president and founder of SPEAC, “like how to be more involved in the community and how to speak for yourself.”

Last year, the group of self-advocates hosted its first talent show and raised $2,000 for SPEAC and for differently-abled adults to attend the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State Long Island Regional Conference. “We feel it will be successful a second time around,” Gazes noted.

Several self-advocates will entertain through song or comedy, and others will sell crafts during the event. The headlining act is Tom Ryan, who will play original tunes and rock ‘n’ roll classics on guitar. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will benefit SPEAC and the transportation fund to attend SANYS. In addition, there will be baskets and prizes raffled at the event.

“It’s important to us because we’re all about integration in the community,” Gazes said. “We’re trying to say that we’re here to help. SPEAC is doing a great job. We’re all a team, and we let everyone in as an equal.”

To learn more about SPEAC, visit speaclongisland.com or contact Leslie Feinberg, the JCC’s self-advocacy advisor, at lfeinberg@friedbergjcc.org