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From Washington to Hollywood and Beyond: The Future of Americans with Disabilities

From Washington to Hollywood and BeyondDate: July 22, 2019
Time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Accommodations: If you want to stay at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill where we have a discounted room block with limited space, book your room with this link:


Steve Bartlett, has brown hair and he is smiling and wearing a black suit, white shirt, and red spotted tie and an american flag pin on his jacket, color photo Candace Cable smiling Judith Heumann smiling Janet LaBreck smiling in front of an American flag
Steve Bartlett
Candace Cable
self-advocate, 12-Time Paralympic Medalist
Judy Heumann
Disability Rights Activist
senior fellow, Ford Foundation
Janet LaBreck
Former Commissioner,
Rehabilitation Services Administration
Mary Lazare smiling in front of an American flag Tatiana Lee in a wheelchair wearing a pink jacket smiling Headshot of Jennifer Mizrahi, smiling and facing the camera wearing a red blazer color photo headshot of Jonathan Murray wearing a gray striped shirt and facing the camera color photo
Mary Lazare*
Principal Deputy Administrator, Health & Human Services for Aging
Tatiana Lee
Actress, and Model
Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi
Jonathan Murray
Reality TV Pioneer
Bunim-Murray Productions
Vincenzo Piscopo smiling headshot of Gerard Robinson smiling and facing the camera wearing a black suit blue shirt and red tie color photo Jennifer Sheehy headshot, smiling in front of an American flag and a Department of Labor flag headshot of Brad Sherman wearing a suit in front of an American flag
Vincenzo Piscopo
Community and Stakeholder Relations
Director, Coca-Cola
Gerard Robinson
Executive Director, The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO)
Jennifer Sheehy
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of disability employment Policy (ODEP)
REP. Brad Sherman
D-CA 30th District

* Invited

Speaker Biographies

  • Steve Bartlett, Chairman, RespectAbility

    As a member of Congress from 1983-1991, The Honorable Steve Bartlett was the principal author of 18 major pieces of legislation including many legislative initiatives on advancing the cause of independence for people with disabilities. In addition to being a principal Republican author of the Americans with Disabilities Act, legislation included Medicaid eligibility, Section 1619 for Medicare eligibility, supported employment, assistive technology, creation of Towards Independence, the President’s Council on Handicapped 1984 report, and mainstreaming reforms for IDEA. During his entire tenure in Congress, he served as the ranking Republican on the Select Education Subcommittee, with jurisdiction for disability issues in education and vocational rehabilitation. Bartlett also served on the House Banking and the Education and Labor Committees. Read more about Steve Bartlett.

  • Candace Cable, self-advocate, 12-Time Paralympic Medalist

    Candace Cable is a Public Policy/Employment Fellow in RespectAbilitys National Leadership Program for Spring of 2019. Cables involvement in sports after a spinal cord injury in 1975 at the age of 21 gave her renewed health, the ability to socially re-engage and a purpose in life. After her 27-year Paralympic athletic career, she uses this platform to effect positive global cohesive change for people with disabilities through her disability education training, consulting, writing, volunteering and speaking. She is a nine-time Paralympian who competed in three sports: wheelchair racing, alpine and nordic ski racing. Cable won 12 medals and became the first American woman to medal in both Summer and Winter Paralympics in 1992. She also had the opportunity to compete on an Olympic stage, when wheelchair racing was an exhibition event, in three Summer Olympic Games, 84, 88, 92 and won two bronze medals. Read more about Candace Cable.

  • Judy Heumann, Disability Rights Activist and Senior Fellow, Ford Foundation

    Judith (Judy) Heumann contracted polio in 1949 in Brooklyn, NY and began to experience discrimination at five years old when she was denied the right to attend school because she was a “fire hazard.” Her parents played a strong role in fighting for her rights as a child. Heumann determined that she, working in collaboration with other disabled people, had to play an increasing advocacy role as she and others experienced continuous discrimination because of their disabilities. She is now an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community and a lifelong civil rights advocate. As a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation, she is currently working to help advance the inclusion of disability in the Foundation’s work and is leading a project to advance the inclusion of disabled people in the media. President Obama appointed Heumann as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the US Department of State, where she served from 2010-2017. Prior to this position, she served as the Director for the Department on Disability Services for the District of Columbia, where she was responsible for the Developmental Disability Administration and the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

  • Janet LaBreck, Former Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration

    In February of 2013, President Barack Obama announced some key administration posts, including his intent to nominate Janet L. LaBreck, known as a national thought leader and key note presenter as the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), within the United States Department of Education. In August of 2013, LaBreck was confirmed by the United States Senate as the Commissioner of RSA. RSA was established to provide leadership and resources to assist state and other agencies providing vocational rehabilitation services (VR) to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and workforce. Under her leadership, LaBreck was responsible for promulgating the most substantive regulation changes to the Vocational Rehabilitation program in over 15 years. Read more about Janet LaBreck.

  • Mary Lazare, Principal Deputy Administrator, Health & Human Services for Aging

    Mary Lazare was sworn into office as the Principal Deputy Administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on June 19, 2017.  Ms. Lazare comes to ACL from St. Louis, Missouri, where she served from 2004 to 2006 as Vice President for Home and Community-Based Services for Lutheran Senior Services. As Vice-President, Ms. Lazare reorganized and developed a structure to streamline the operations of home health, hospice, and private duty services. She also reorganized older adult outreach social services such as SHIP, the Good Neighbor Program, and elder fraud prevention.

  • Tatiana Lee, Self-Advocate, Actress, and Model

    Tatiana Lee is a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Spring 2019. Lee came to this leadership program to gain better knowledge and skills to be a more effective advocate in Hollywood for disability inclusion. She wants to learn about RespectAbility’s culture to maintain the excellent track record for effectiveness it has in Hollywood. She hopes to help represent RespectAbility in Hollywood. Like RespectAbility, Lee has dedicated her life to fighting for inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of mass media. Lee has appeared in several short films, including the 2018 Disability Film Challenge Best Awareness Film Footlooseand Coffee with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.She also has appeared in modeling campaigns such as #PerfectFigure for Parfait Lingerie. Lee currently is undertaking speaking engagements, panels and attending Upright Citizens Brigade Improv Theater as a 3x Diversity Scholarship recipient. She is the 2018 recipient of the Reeves Acting Scholarship from The Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation, which she accepted at the Media Access Awards. Read more about Tatiana Lee.

  • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President, RespectAbility

    Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi is the President of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. She regularly works with disability organizations, national, state and local policy leaders, workforce development professionals, media, employers, philanthropists, celebrities and faith-based organizations in order to expand opportunities for people with disabilities. Mizrahi has submitted testimony on employment for people with disabilities in all fifty states and at the Federal level. Dyslexic herself, she also knows what it means to parent a child with multiple disabilities. Read more about Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.

  • Jonathan Murray, Reality TV Pioneer, Bunim-Murray Productions

    Widely credited with helping to usher in the modern reality television genre with his late partner Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire, influence and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since the launch of The Real World on MTV in 1992 through Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP), Murray has created and executive produced some of the industry’s most innovative, unscripted, entertainment television programs including Born This Way (A&E), which documents the lives of young adults with Down Syndrome and their families. Serving as Chairman of BMP until April 2015, Murray was responsible for guiding the creative process that has distinguished the company’s shows since the early 1990s. In 2007, the company launched BMP Films which sold its first critically acclaimed documentary, Autism: The Musical, to HBO. Read more about Jonathan Murray.

  • Vincenzo Piscopo, Community and Stakeholder Relations Director, Coca-Cola

    Vincenzo Piscopo works as Community and Stakeholder relations director for The Coca-Cola Company where he manages the relationships with disability, veterans and Hispanic organizations as well as United Way and Hands-On Atlanta. He has worked for The Coca-Cola Company for the last 22 years in different areas of the organization: Finance, IT, Marketing and Innovation. He has a bachelor degree in Economics, an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master in Creativity from Buffalo State College and is currently working in a Master in Rehabilitation Counseling. He is the president and founder member of the This-ABILITY BRG for The Coca-Cola Company and the president and founder of the “Wheels of Happiness Foundation” where he uses his expertise to help people with motor disabilities in disadvantaged areas of the world. Read more about Vincenzo Piscopo.

  • Gerard Robinson, Executive Director, The Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO)

    Gerard Robinson is the executive director of the Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO). He is also a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C., a public policy think tank committed to expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise. Robinson’s research areas at AEI include parental choice in the public and private schools, regulatory development and implementation of K–12 standards, the role of for-profit companies in education, prison education and reentry programs, and the role of community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in adult advancement. Before joining AEI, Robinson was Vice President of Partnerships at UniversityNow, Inc., a social venture based in San Francisco that works to expand access to quality higher education options through campus and online programs at Patten University, where he serves as trustee. Read more about Gerard Robinson.

  • Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

    Jennifer Sheehy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary, leading the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), US Department of Labor.  The mission of ODEP is to develop policies to increase the number and quality of employment opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities. Prior to her current position, Jennifer spent ten years at the US Department of Education in many roles, including acting Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, acting Deputy Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.  Jennifer came to the Department of Education from the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities where she was Senior Policy Advisor and served a detail as Associate Director in the White House Domestic Policy Council.  Before she joined the task force staff, Jennifer was Vice President of the National Organization on Disability and Director of its CEO Council.  She has worked for Marriott, Sheraton, and Anheuser-Busch and has received many civic and leadership honors.  Jennifer earned a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from Georgetown University.



How can I request accommodations?
ADA seating, live captioning and ASL interpreters will be provided. Please let us know in advance if you need other accommodations. Contact for more information.

Can I participate virtually?
Yes! We will be live tweeting @Respect_Ability and invite you to join us there!

Will this event be filmed?
Yes! The full recording will be posted on our website and social media.

I’m a member of the media. Who can I contact for more information?
Lauren Appelbaum:

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum
Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. Appelbaum currently oversees RespectAbility’s outreach to Hollywood to promote positive, accurate, diverse and inclusive media portrayals on TV and in film. To reach her, email

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