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Friday, July 10, 2015

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) names new Chair of the Board, Chris Griffin

PRESS RELEASE | July 9, 2015
American Association of People with Disabilities
Chris Griffin, AAPD Board Chair

                                  A NEW DAY AT AAPD
It’s an exciting time here at AAPD as we approach the 25th Anniversary of the passage of the American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA). I am honored and humbled to be the newly elected Chair of the Board of the AAPD. We are most fortunate to have the following newly elected individuals to the board: Kelly Buckland, Joyce Bender, Allie Cannington, Anil Lewis, Jennifer Mathis, Ari Ne’eman, Ricardo Thornton, and Michael Zullo. Our re-elected board members include Mary Davis, Edward Kennedy Jr., Deborah Rice-Johnson, Will Ris, and Eric Vaughn. And our continuing board members include myself, Susan Diegelman, Jeff Kramer, Fred Maahs, John Register, Cheryl Sensenbrenner, Cathy Smith, and James Weisman. Helena Berger, as the Acting President and CEO, also serves as part of the Board. What an amazing line up of people who represent the best of the disability community and corporate leaders with demonstrated leadership on disability issues. These folks represent a diverse and cross disability group that care about the organization and more importantly about improving the lives of people with disabilities nationwide.

AAPD’s Board and staff have spent time recently evaluating our role in the disability community and our desire to work more collaboratively with other national disability and civil rights organizations. AAPD was founded 20 years ago as a grass roots organization focused on enhancing the political and economic power of people with disabilities. We remain committed to that mission and to working in partnership with any organization that shares our vision.

AAPD is excited to support and be a part of A Celebration of Pride, Power, and Promise – the 25th Anniversary community event hosted by the members of the National Disability Leadership Alliance – on July 27th in Washington, DC. We want to thank the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) for providing the venue and logistical support as part of their Annual Conference (July 27-30, 2015). We know that there are many events honoring and celebrating the ADA all over the country. It’s important to remember and celebrate what President Bush said when he signed this important piece of legislation 25 years ago: “Let the shameful walls of discrimination come tumbling down.” The full promise of the ADA will only be reached if we work together to fully implement the ADA and ensure those “shameful walls of discrimination” continue to tumble down into dust.

I know I speak for the Board and staff in thanking outgoing AAPD Board Chair Fred Maahs of Comcast for his dedication and service to AAPD as well as Helena Berger for stepping in as the Acting President and CEO at a time when we really need her expertise and steady hand. We are currently searching for a new President and CEO, and the future of AAPD could not be brighter.

If you are interested in joining us for the community ADA celebration or sponsoring the event please let us know! You can purchase tickets or find sponsorship information by visiting www.disabilityleadership.org or contacting Helena Berger (hberger@aapd.com) or Kelly Buckland (kelly@ncil.org). We hope to see you there!

Please also check out AAPD revamped website and look for our new monthly newsletter – the Disability Download. It really is a new day at AAPD.

Chris Griffin is the current Chair of the Board of AAPD and the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

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