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World Institute on Disability Announces Appointment of Organization’s Founders to Board of Directors on Ed Roberts Day

Berkeley, CA. (January 23, 2020) – As the World Institute on Disability (WID) enters the next decade with an exciting transition underway, the organization has a renewed sense of purpose and pride in its exceptional history. Among the many changes underway, WID has established three honorary positions on our Board of Directors in recognition of the visionary leadership and transformational roles of WID’s founders at the dawn of the global disability rights movement.
Lifetime Board Emeriti appointments have been made today for founders Judy Heumann, Joan Leon, and Zona Roberts, mother of Ed Roberts, and a key leader in her own right.

Reads: World Institute on Disability Announces Appointment of Organization's Founders to Board of Directors on Ed Roberts Day. Photos left to right: Judy Heumann, Zona Roberts, and Joan Leon.

In announcing the appointments, Kevin Foster, President of the WID Board of Directors remarked, “On the 10th anniversary of Ed Roberts Day, and what would have been Ed’s 81st birthday, we are thrilled to be honoring three exceptional leaders who have continued to drive the global disability rights movement forward ever since WID’s inception in 1983.”
Ed Roberts Day was established by the US House of Representatives in 2010 to acknowledge Ed’s contributions in “helping to reduce barriers, increase access and improve lives of persons with disabilities”
For more on Ed Roberts Day: http://bit.ly/37g3KVJ
WID Executive Director and CEO Marcie Roth added “Judy Heumann, Joan Leon, and Zona Roberts are treasured for their visionary leadership and transformative contributions. We are thrilled to welcome them back to WID leadership roles, and anticipate that their insights will be of huge value to the organization, our movement and the lives of over one billion people with disabilities worldwide as we connect WID’s past to our unfolding future.”
Below are short bios for each of the new Board Emeriti:

Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann smilingJudy Heumann co-founded WID with Ed Roberts and Joan Leon in 1983, serving as co-director until 1993. Appointed by President Clinton, Judy served as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education until 2001. From 2002-2006, she was the World Bank Advisor on Disability and Development, leading the World Bank’s work on disability. She worked to integrate disability into the bank’s dialogues with client countries, its country-based analytical work, and its efforts to improve policies, programs, and projects that took people with disabilities fully into consideration in developing countries. The Director of the Department of Disability Services for the District of Columbia from 2007-2010, she was appointed by President Obama as Special Advisor on Disability Rights for the U.S. State Department, responsible for leading the Obama Administration’s efforts to develop a comprehensive strategy to promote the rights of persons with disabilities internationally; coordinating an inter-agency process for the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; ensuring that foreign assistance incorporates persons with disabilities; leading disability human rights issues; ensuring that the needs of persons with disabilities are addressed in international situations; and conducting public diplomacy, including with civil society, on disability issues. After leaving that role in 2017, she spent two years as a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation.

Before WID, Heumann was Special Assistant to the California State Director of the Department of Rehabilitation. From 1975-1981, she served as Deputy Director of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, California, the first Independent Living Center in the United States.

Joan Leon

Joan Leon smilingJoan Leon co-founded WID with Judy Heumann and Ed Roberts in 1983. Her primary goal was to establish a research center that would be able to support the disability rights movement with data. As Co-Director from 1983-94, she had the primary responsibility for developing a strong and reliable base of support for WID’s programs from government, corporations, and donors. In 1994, she became Executive Vice President in charge of programs as well as fundraising. A year later, she became CEO. In 1997, she assumed the role of President and guided the transition of WID to new leadership.

After the death of Ed Roberts in 1995, she was part of a group of community leaders who worked to develop a suitable memorial to Roberts’s work and life. This effort resulted in a plan for the Ed Roberts Campus, a nonprofit corporation formed by 7 major disability organizations that shared a common history in the Independent Living Movement in California. First open in November 2010, Ed Roberts Campus now houses those 7 organizations and a handful more at one site in Berkeley, CA, sharing resources and expertise and to improve services to people with disabilities.

Zona Roberts

Zona Roberts smiling and holding up a photo of Ed RobertsZona Roberts, while most known for being the supportive mother of Ed Roberts, who would become known as the “father” of the disability rights movement, is a formidable advocate for disability healthcare, education, and assistive technology in her own right. Zona fiercely advocated for Ed’s right to return to high school using a phone to participate in classes from home, and to graduate without fulfilling physical education requirements. She was also instrumental in Ed’s battle with UC Berkeley to accommodate his iron lung in student housing. Zona began attending Berkeley herself at age 49 for a teaching certificate, graduating with her B.A. in 1969 and earning her certificate the following year. Zona worked for the Physically Disabled Students Program (PDSP) coordinating Personal Care Attendants for students, and was even offered the role of Director of the organization, but turned it down, feeling that the program should be led by a disabled person.

She went on to earn her Master’s degree before going to work for the Center for Independent Living, establishing the organization’s counseling department. When she left the CIL in 1982, she opened her own counseling practice, working with caretakers and family members of people with disabilities. Zona’s embodied passion for independent living has been instrumental in securing rights and resources for people with disabilities around the world.

Full press release PDF: link to download


Based in Berkeley, California, the World Institute on Disability (WID) is a nonprofit that works to fully integrate people with disabilities into their communities via research, policy, and consulting efforts

For more information on this story, contact Heather Duncan, heather@wid.org.

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2020 Conference Access Disability Ambassador Application Now Available

Applications are now open for our 2020 Conference Access Initiative with JP Morgan Chase! This scholarship is for people with disabilities who are at least 18 years old and live in the United States of America. Diverse applicants encouraged to apply.

We are currently accepting applications for our Disability Ambassador Scholarship at the following Spring 2020 conferences:

Financial Health Network – EMERGE: May 5-7, 2020 in Atlanta, GA
NeighborWorks Training Institute: May 18-22, 2020 in Los Angeles

Link to the application:

https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5408413/Scholarship-Application-2020

Disability Ambassador scholarships include:

  • Paid event registration
  • Paid hotel
  • Paid travel to and from the event
  • Disability accommodations and support

Note: Disability Ambassadors’ perks do not include food (per diem) or daily travel during the event.

2 Black women smiling in front of the WID desk. Luticha is wearing a blue blazer and floral jumpsuit with pink flowers that match her pink wheelchair. Cathy stands next to her, wearing a black and white striped shirt and white pants with a red belt.
WID Disability Ambassadors Luticha (left) and Cathy (right) in front of the WID Disability Concierge Desk at Congressional Black Caucus 2019.

To learn more about our Conference Access Initiative with JP Morgan Chase, visit our Conference Access 2019 page, or our Conference Accessibility main page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Altaira Hatton

by Altaira Hatton

Hi! My name is Altaira Hatton, and I work as a mediator in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA. I also founded a nonprofit homeless services organization last spring, Neighbors with Lunch, and we have served over 1,000 meals since February!

I delighted in Upswell Chicago. The themes, workshops, speeches, and attendees served to educate, motivate, and inspire me. I left with new friends, potential funders, and lots of ideas.
The support provided by JP Morgan Chase and the World Institute on Disability
was invaluable. Without them, I simply could not have attended this conference. My nonprofit is small; we do not have a budget for travel funds and conference registration. And because I recently retired my wonderful service dog of nine years, I now need to travel with a human assistant. These added costs and logistics would simply have proved prohibitive, and I am deeply grateful for the help and support provided by this initiative.

A woman with shoulder-length brown hair smiling brightly and posing in her electric wheelchair. She is wearing a blue jacket and dark velvet skirt.
WID Disability Ambassador Altaira in front of the Disability Concierge desk

As Upswell highlighted so clearly this year, diversity must be visible to create change. By sending real, live, personally engaged, and actively participating individuals with disabilities to this and other conferences, you bring our experiences and our narratives into focus. We have a seat at the table. We’re seen. We’re heard.

It may seem like a small act, but for every hiring manager I met, for every foundation director I talked with, they now have one more person they’ve met in their field with a disability. It’s something small, but like so many exercises of socialization, it’s accumulative.

I think the Conference Accessibility Initiative is rather brilliant. By giving a minority who often experiences constrained resources an opportunity to attend conferences, you serve to boost their professional reach, and to place them at the table with policy makers and leaders. Good policy derives from a thorough understanding of the needs of everyone affected, and far too often people with disabilities, despite comprising one in 4 U.S. adults (61 million Americans), are overlooked and underrepresented. This program is providing an excellent service to the community, and I look forward to supporting JPMorgan Chase and WID in their future collaborations.

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Independent Sector Upswell 2019 Conference, follow the link below:

Jennifer Wolff’s Upswell Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Jennifer Wolff

by Jennifer Wolff

The World Institute on Disability’s (WID) Disability Ambassador program provided the opportunity to attend the Upswell Conference in Chicago. My name is Jenn Wolff and I’m an activist from Iowa currently working creating a storytelling community to impact changes to Medicaid for individuals with disabilities and the direct care workers who help us live in the community.

In the advocacy work I’ve experienced both in Washington DC and in Iowa, our elected officials are bombarded by data, by budgets and by lobbyists, but need to be reminded of how constituents are impacted by the policies they are making decisions on.  This is even more important for the disability community. When we speak up about our lives, about our values and all that we can do in an accessible environment with access to the right equipment, we are educating individuals on the positives we bring to this world.  We are an investment, not just a number.

A white woman with short dark hair smiling. She is seated in her wheelchair and wearing a light gray blazer with several bright slogan buttons pinned to the lapel.
WID Disability Ambassador Jenn in front of the Disability Concierge desk

Upswell provided a fabulous opportunity to meet authors, musicians, entrepreneurs, inventors, storytellers, and change-makers who all just want to make the world a better place.  I brought back tools to make the #UpgradeMedicaid campaign more effective in how we tell our stories from StoryCorp, learned about creating community-based policy solutions for legislators from Gabriella Barbosa, and about research-based strategies to bridge differences from the Greater Good Science Center.

Not only has this experience increased my knowledge base and given me more tools to affect change, but it also gave me more impetus to continue the work I’m doing. My community matters and too many people feel isolated in the fight for the basic human rights of access to health care, access to community living, and to be treated like anyone else rather than “less”. All the people I had the honor of meeting empowered me to continue the work as they are working to improve our world as well.

The best part about the Conference Accessibility Initiative by JP Morgan Chase and WID, is that provided a truly accessible space for individuals like myself, to be present in this important space, discussing social change. Many conferences and workshops are not as well-planned for accessibility (i.e. no ASL or CART, stairs with no ramp or lift, additional barriers), which can make individuals feel unwelcome. Upswell was amazing in its accessibility and in its positive messaging throughout the conference. Thank you for this opportunity!

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Independent Sector Upswell 2019 Conference, follow the link below:

Altaira Hatton’s Upswell Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Luticha André Doucette

by Luticha André Doucette

My name is Luticha André Doucette and I am the Equity Coordinator in the Mayor’s Office of Community Wealth Building, located in Rochester NY.

Disability is extremely important when it comes to policy. Disability is the largest equity issue that continues to be neglected in our policies, practices, and procedures. Particularly at the intersection of race and disability, we see the largest inequities. From our urban centers not having access to transportation, accessible housing options for all income levels, and access to medical care that considers disabled bodies – in each of these areas, if we focus on the disability experience first, then we can ensure that everyone has access.

2 Black women smiling in front of the WID desk. Luticha is wearing a blue blazer and floral jumpsuit with pink flowers that match her pink wheelchair. Cathy stands next to her, wearing a black and white striped shirt and white pants with a red belt.
WID Disability Ambassadors Luticha (left) and Cathy (right) in front of the WID Disability Concierge Desk.

This conference was made accessible by a couple of different features but mainly that my hotel room was beautiful and accessible. It had a large bathroom that I could easily reach the sink as well as having room to maneuver to get to the toilet or the shower.

Personally and professionally, the conference helped me in our work in the city of Rochester by addressing how we can maintain that focus and center disability in the work that we do. Too often disability is seen as a separate issue, when really it should be the foundation from which all policy stems from. Making connections with other policy workers, as well as talking to other disabled people, helps me communicate best practices to our elected officials and emphasize the importance of leading with disability and race.

The Conference Accessibility Initiative by JP Morgan Chase and WID made a difference for people with disabilities. I spoke to people who enjoyed the live captioning, which also helped to normalize captions within a nondisabled space. People quickly realized how it could be beneficial for everybody. More conferences should take advantage of the services of WID in order to make their events more inclusive.

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2019  Annual Leadership Conference, follow either link below:

Cathy Bennett-Santos’ CBCF Blog

Eric Harris’s CBCF Blog

Gregory Pickett’s CBCF Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Gregory Pickett

by Gregory Pickett

My name is Gregory Pickett and I’m a career banker by profession. I reside in the Washington DC area.

Advocating and bringing awareness for persons with disabilities in regards to policy issues are a critical part of the legislative process. Persons with disabilities like myself and the organizations that support us must continue to strive for diversity, inclusion, and equity in every aspect of life.

A black man wearing a houndstooth checked suit smiling into the camera.
WID Disability Ambassador Gregory Pickett

By attending the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Leadership Conference, I benefited professionally through networking and meeting prospective strategic partners for future business endeavors. Having access to wheelchairs and scooters provided me with better mobility during the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.

As a Disability Ambassador for the Conference Accessibility Initiative by JP Morgan & Chase and WID, I can personally attest to the financial impact their support has had on providing me with access and accommodations to attend several national conferences over the past three years. I can emphatically say that without their support I would not have been able to attend and participate.

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2019  Annual Leadership Conference, follow either link below:

Eric Harris’s CBCF Blog

Cathy Bennett-Santos’ CBCF Blog

Luticha André Doucette’s CBCF Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Cathy Bennett-Santos

by Cathy Bennett-Santos

My name is Cathy Bennett-Santos, and I am a service-connected disabled veteran of the US Armed Services; presently enrolled in Human and Social Science PhD Program focused on researching military culture and families. I advocate for women veterans since 1993, after I was discharged from military service and returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The World Institute Disability provided an opportunity for me to unite with my peers for support and camaraderie, which is infrequent across the multi-dimensional platform of women of the armed forces. The sponsorship was significant for allowing me to experience many of the workshops and venues previously unaffordable to me. WID accommodated a personal care assistant that added confidence and another layer of comfort knowing that I was not alone. Service Disabled Veterans often experience “invisible” wounds when trauma is not physical, but as in my case, caused from sexual trauma and related conditions. Having trusted and relatable peers and networks relieves a great deal of anxiety and diminishes potential triggers for me, especially when I can talk to women veterans familiar with the issues we face.

A Black woman wearing a white dress and leopard print high heels smiles and holds a microphone. A Black man wearing a floral print shirt and a black baseball cap stands in front of her, holding up his cell phone to record her.
WID Disability Ambassador Cathy Bennett being interviewed in front of the WID Disability Concierge Desk by reporter Russell Price Jr. for Be There Magazine.

Policy provides the necessary protections from people who are insensitive and lack tolerance for the disability community. To recognize disability is to respect those with limited ability, who may be considered “abnormal” and experience insults and abuses associated with their disability. Policy is the necessary guard that speaks to the world when disabled people are restricted or limited in being a voice for change. Many people need accessibility accommodations, and policy can ensure that these considerations are made in day-to-day as well as hazardous conditions.

It was a huge honor to be selected as a Disability Ambassador by WID and to meet the amazing team and other Disability Ambassadors. It was a welcoming and inviting opportunity to be a part of something great, where compassion, empathy, and tolerance were demonstrated by all. Professionally, I was able to network, meet many of my peers, and exchange valuable information and resources. Growing my network will enable me to build strong and lasting friendships for support and other collaborations.

Personally, the access was incredible for meeting new people who shared amazing stories of accomplishments and success which otherwise would be unaffordable, despite a desire to attend such a wonderful and resource-filled venue.

2 Black women smiling in front of the WID desk. Luticha is wearing a blue blazer and floral jumpsuit with pink flowers that match her pink wheelchair. Cathy stands next to her, wearing a black and white striped shirt and white pants with a red belt.
WID Disability Ambassadors Luticha (left) and Cathy (right) in front of the WID Disability Concierge Desk.

The Conference Accessibility Initiative will make a difference for people with disabilities by allowing those with far-reaching desires to have a real experience that is not otherwise possible. The growing disability community is empowered and shown through this initiative that they are cared for in social and professional interactions. This is vital for instilling confidence and support.

This conference made a difference for me, as a disabled veteran, in connecting me to other professionals who can support and encourage each other. I also learned from other Disability Ambassadors the impact of their experiences. The hope and help provided by WID at this conference impressed upon me that one can do anything even with a disability, and that nothing is impossible for those who reach higher to achieve in life.

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2019  Annual Leadership Conference, follow either link below:

Eric Harris’s CBCF Blog

Luticha André Doucette’s CBCF Blog

Gregory Pickett’s CBCF Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Eric Harris

by Eric Harris

My name is Eric Harris, and I am a legislative advocate for Disability Rights California, located in Sacramento, California. Thanks to the World Institute on Disability, I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Leadership Conference this year in Washington, D.C. The conference was held at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center, which was very accessible. The staff at the conference were great, informing me where to find elevator and ramp access. The conference panels also had designated spots in the audience for wheelchair users, close to the stage and in the center, so that I could get a good view of the speakers. The city of Washington, D.C. has a lot of accessible public transportation, so I used both the Metro and D.C. bus systems to get to the conference.

Disability is crucial when it comes to policy because disability impacts everyone in some way. Policies relating to criminal justice, transportation, education, civic engagement, finance, and health care have an influential role in disability policy. People with disabilities are in every area of society, and it is important that the disability community is considered anytime that policy is made.

This conference benefited me personally in several ways. First, it was great for me to meet the individuals who work at the World Institute of Disability. On Capitol Hill, I was able to meet with United States Representative Barbara Lee (CA), former Ambassador Diane Watson, and Congressional staff members. I also was able to connect with staff from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD).  Finally, when I was at the airport, I ran into United States Senator and Presidential Candidate, Elizabeth Warren. It was an incredible moment for me and I was able to take a photo with her.

Warren kneeling next to Eric, her arm around his shoulder
WID Disability Ambassador Eric smiling with US Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren

This conference also benefited me professionally as a legislative advocate, meeting with leaders of national disability rights organizations in Washington. We were able to speak about subminimum wage 14c certification, an issue that I have been working on in preparation for 2020 and 2021. I also talked with Congressional staff about the possibility of including disability, mental health and diabetes on next year’s CBC agenda.

As a person with a disability, who is also an African American male, many of the issues discussed in this conference were near and dear to me. The discussions on criminal justice reform and Black male achievement were particularly important for me. These are issue areas that intersect race and disability. Being able to see African American Congressional leaders talk about these issues was special.

2 black men wearing suits pose in front of a backdrop covered in CBCF logos. Eric (right) uses a wheelchair and his brother stands with his arm around Eric's shoulder.
WID Disability Ambassador Eric (right) with his brother (left).

While in D.C., I had a chance to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture for the first time with my brother. We enjoyed it so much. It was powerful, and gave us an opportunity to reflect on the importance of knowing our history and to be prideful for sacrifices that our ancestors have made to give us our opportunities.

The Conference Accessibility Initiative is important because it gives people with disabilities an opportunity to experience great conferences throughout the country. It also puts disability on the minds of people at these conferences. The individuals who attend are able to meet with some of the most powerful policy makers in the country and make a difference, by informing them that disability issues are important.

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2019  Annual Leadership Conference, follow either link below:

Cathy Bennett-Santos’ CBCF Blog

Gregory Pickett’s CBCF Blog

Luticha André Doucette’s CBCF Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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National Teleconference 1/7: Disability-Inclusive Disaster Preparedness

Join with Disability Rights Leaders to discuss our role in the planned rewrite of FEMA’s Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans (CPG 101)!

All text image, text available in main body of post

The federal government’s guidance to states and local communities for planning for disasters is about to be updated. Learn the “WHAT, SO WHAT AND NOW WHAT” that is so important for disability leaders, disability led organizations, stakeholders and allies to know and how you can and must participate in the updating process, currently underway. This is a key step in the decision making process in local communities, deciding who is at the planning table, and how billions of dollars in future disaster planning are prioritized.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm ET/ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm PT
(425) 436-6320
Pin: 750899#

CART available day of at this link:
https://dpbaker.1capapp.com/event/1-7wid

If you require a disability accommodation other than CART to participate in this call, please contact heather@wid.org 24 hours in advance.

Agenda:

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • What is CPG 101 and what is the history of the guidance?
  • So What? Why is CPG 101 so important to people with disabilities and local communities, before, during and after disasters?
  • Now What? What can disability leaders and our allies do to be sure disaster impacted people with disabilities and disability led organizations are fully involved in the national emergency planning process?
  • Q&A
  • Next steps
  • Wrap Up

From Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans” (CPG 101).  “The goal of CPG 101 is to assist in making the planning process routine across all phases of emergency management and for all homeland security mission areas. “…“greater emphasis is placed on representing and engaging the whole community—to include those with access and functional needs, children, and those with household pets and service animals. Residents and all sectors of the community have a critical role and shared responsibility to take appropriate actions to protect themselves, their families and organizations, and their properties. Planning that engages and includes the whole community serves as the focal point for building a collaborative and resilient community. CPG 101 is the foundation for state, territorial, tribal, and local emergency planning in the United States.”

Podium and speech bubble with text: Conference Access Blogs

Conference Access Blogs: Dayamarali Espinosa

by Dayamarali Espinosa

My name is Dayamarali (Daya) Espinosa. I am proud Deaf Latinx Woman. I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina. I am currently a second-year graduate student at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. studying International Development (IDMA). I graduated with a bachelor ‘s degree in Spanish and International Studies at Gallaudet University in May 2018. My international field interest is in immigration, human rights (including disability rights), and access to education, language, and culture. The accommodation that made this conference accessible for me was having an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter with me all day.

It is important that Deaf people are involved in making policy for the disability community because we are a minority group. We face difficulties on a daily basis that are because of audism. The intersectionality of our community is becoming more visible, and it is important for us to speak up and share our experiences to make systems change, working to include and NOT exclude.

Daya smiles and poses with her arms extended towards a large sign that says
WID Disability Ambassador Daya smiling and posing with the CHCI sign.

This experience has benefited me to represent my community as a Deaf Latinx Woman. Learning and gaining leadership knowledge has helped me to speak up more, not just for myself but for my community as well as for those who couldn’t speak up.

The Conference Accessibility Initiative with JPMorgan Chase and WID makes a difference by bringing diverse people with disabilities to be part of this important mission, and bringing visibility to organizations, leaders, and policymakers that create change and make decisions. ¡Tú cuenta! You count!

 


 

Would you like to be a Disability Ambassador with WID and JP Morgan & Chase? Keep an eye out for applications for 2020, coming soon!

To read more about our Disability Ambassadors’ experiences at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Leadership Conference 2019, follow either link below:

Dr. Michelle Hernandez’s CHCI Blog

Ligia Zúñiga’s CHCI Blog

For more Disability Ambassador blogs, check out our Conference Accessibility Initiative 2019 page.

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