Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Saturday, Aug. 12 1:30 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Saturday, Aug. 12 2:45 PM (Eastern)
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 joined the Ford Foundation in January of 2021 as the first U.S. Program Officer to oversee a Disability Rights Portfolio. Prior to joining Ford, she served as the co-founder and Director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress where she worked with 12 different Democratic presidential candidates to develop their disability policy platforms. She implemented campaigns to save the Americans with Disabilities Act, Medicaid, and SNAP and pushed back against work requirements, the public charge, and Trump’s Supreme Court nominations. At the National Council on Disability she restored NCD’s agency’s reputation as the civil rights voice for the disability community and managed projects on police violence, campus sexual assault, and the civil rights of disabled parents. In the Obama Administration she served at the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And she had the pleasure of serving at the White House as Director of Priority Placement for Diversity in the first term. Every role she’s served in has centered on bringing the disability community to the table on progressive issues and helping the progressive community come to the table on disability priorities. In 2020 she was awarded the Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life for Brandeis University. Rebecca has spoken at Netroots Nation, New York City Comic-Con, Yale University, the Women’s March National Conference and given a TedX talk. Rebecca has published with The Body Is Not An Apology, Rewire, CNN, Refinery 29, and been a guest on MSNBC and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. She was a Karl Pister Scholar at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she graduated with a B.A. in Politics. She is the proud spouse of Patrick, mother of 3, and is working on her first book.
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.