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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Brilynn Rakes, Communications Fellow

National Leadership Program, Summer 2017

Brilynn is facing the camera, has brown eyes, very curly hair, and is wearing a black shirt.

Brilynn Rakes

Brilynn Rakes was a Communications Fellow with RespectAbility, where she worked on changing the narrative in Hollywood to ensure accurate and positive cultural media portrayals of people with disabilities. Rakes is originally from Visalia, California. She is a recent graduate from Fordham University where she earned a BA in Communications and Media Studies. She also earned a BFA in Dance from the Ailey/Fordham program.

As a visually-impaired dancer, Rakes has performed works by Donald MyKayle, Christopher Huggins and Jose Limon. She also was invited to participate in the New York City Finals of the International Ballet Competition and Youth American Grand Prix in 2012 and 2013. Prior to joining RespectAbility, Rakes was the AT&T Spotlight Performer on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars where she performed alongside Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer Derek Hough. Watch the AT&T Spotlight Behind the Scenes with Brilynn Rakes on YouTube.

Rakes profiled Cal Thomas, Dana Marlowe, Jonathan Murray and Gideon Culman, four guest speakers for the 2017 Summer Fellowship. Read them on our website:

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Meet the Author

Brilynn Rakes
Brilynn Rakes

Brilynn Rakes is a Communications Fellow. She is a recent graduate from Fordham University. As a visually-impaired dancer, she was the AT&T Spotlight Performer on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars where she performed alongside Emmy-nominated dancer and choreographer Derek Hough.

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