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

Gabriella Marquez, Public Policy Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Summer 2021

Gabriella Marquez smiling headshot

Gabriella Marquez

Gabriella Marquez was a Public Policy Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program for Summer 2021. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

Marquez earned her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Florida State University and will be attending American University Washington College of Law in August where she plans to devote her studies to public interest law.

As a summer camp counselor in 2017 with Easterseals Florida, Marquez was introduced to the disability community. She provided personal care and encouraged independence for campers age 6-65 over a six week period. In 2020, she was offered an internship with the executive director of W.A.V.E. Tallahassee — a nonprofit organization that provides programs for adults with disabilities who have aged out of the public school system. Within the organization, she worked on fundraising strategies and brainstormed socially distanced events to preserve the organization’s traditions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her experiences and interactions, she gained a meaningful perspective on the disability experience and was inspired to continue to ensure that those experiences were shared, heard, and listened to.

For ten months Marquez served as an intern with Disability Rights Florida under the Public Policy Director. She worked specifically on restraint and seclusion in public schools for the first five months of her internship where she assisted in the creation and maintenance of a coalition of stakeholders who wanted to see the 2021 Florida restraint and seclusion bill feature standards, definitions, and prohibitions. For the remainder of her internship she was able to delve into other aspects of policy such as supported decision making, Baker Act legislation, voter rights, and the interactions between police and people with disabilities.

Marquez is excited to join the public policy team and hopes to cultivate meaningful connections and create a strong foundation to become an effective ally to the disabled community.


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 [email protected] for more information.



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Gabriella Marquez
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