Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Saturday, Aug. 12 1:30 PM
Ends: Saturday, Aug. 12 2:45 PM
Room: Hanover A-B
Fannie Lou Hamer was involuntarily sterilized because of polio in her 20s and often talked about the additional oppression she fought because of her health. Helen Keller was more than just inspiration porn. She protested Apartheid and founded the ACLU. Disabled people, both those with visible conditions and those with hidden ones (mental health, learning disabilities, chronic illness) are already within our movement. In this session, we’ll discuss how our issues and agendas overlap, incorporating best practices and strategies to recognize and combat ableism can strengthen our agenda, buttress our grassroots, and sustain us for the long road ahead.
Rebecca Cokley is the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability, an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy. She joined NCD in 2013 after serving 4 years in the Obama Administration. Most recently, she was the Special Assistant to the Principal Deputy at the Administration for Community Living at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before serving at the Administration on Community Living, Cokley was the Director of Priority Placement for Public Engagement in the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House where she was responsible for outreach to diversity and minority organizations to recruit qualified individuals for roles in the Obama Administration. Prior to her time at the White House, Cokley was the Confidential Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. She participated in the Education Policy Fellowship Program in 2006 and worked at the Institute for Educational Leadership for five years, building a number of tools and resources designed to empower and educate youth with disabilities and their adult allies. She has spent the last 15 years engaging in discussions tied to civil rights and equity while paying particular attention to the needs of young people with disabilities. In 2015 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. Rebecca has a B.A in Politics from the University of California Santa Cruz, is the proud spouse of Patrick and mother of Jackson and Kaya.
Mia Ives-Rublee is the Founder and Coordinator for the Women’s March on Washington Disability Caucus and was also a national organizer for the march. She helped coordinate services for over 40,000 people with disabilities at the march and worked directly with the Co-Chairs to ensure the disability community was fully incorporated in the March principals. She has provided advice and guidance to numerous marches, including the Science March, Climate March, and March for Education. Mia has her Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a civil rights activist. She has given several speeches, including speaking at the NY Tax March, National ADAPT Fun Run, and NC First in Families Annual Conference.
Katherine Perez is the Co-Founder of the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD). CNLD works in solidarity to affirm, celebrate, and collectively uplift Disabled Latinxs through community building, advocacy, protection of rights, resources, and education. The American Association of People with Disabilities recognized Katherine as an emerging leader in the Disability Rights Movement by awarding her the Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award in 2017. Katherine holds a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law (c/o 2013) and is a PhD candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She served as a Peace Corps-Peru volunteer (2008-2010) and a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow (2006-2007). Katherine hails from La Mirada, California.
Vilissa Thompson is the founder and CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization that promotes self-advocacy and empowerment among people with disabilities. Vilissa is a Licensed Master Social Worker from Winnsboro, SC. As a disability rights consultant, writer, and advocate, Vilissa is a prominent leader and expert in addressing and educating the public and political figures about the plight of people with disabilities, especially women of color with disabilities. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, NY Times, Buzzfeed, Bitch Media, Upworthy, Black Girl Nerds, and The Atlantic, among others. Vilissa created the #DisabilityTooWhite viral hashtag that addressed the lack of diversity within the disability community and how a lack of representation impacts disabled people of color and their ability to feel fully included and accepted within the community. She also established the Black Disabled Woman Syllabus, a resource that has garnered much attention and praise from those within academia and the disabled community for its focus on the experiences of a very underrepresented group.