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RespectAbility Opens Nomination Process for Second-Annual Justin Chappell Memorial and Steve Bartlett Awards

Washington, D.C., January 19 – RespectAbility is pleased to announce that nominations for the second-annual Justin Chappell Memorial Award and Steve Bartlett Award are now open and will close on April 14th. Award winners will receive $1,000 and be honored in a public ceremony celebrating RespectAbility’s ten-year anniversary.

“As we launch the celebration of our tenth year of advocacy on behalf of and with the full diversity of the disability community, we are excited that these awards are returning to honor the work of incredible advocates who have helped make full participation in the community possible for more disabled individuals,” said Ariel Simms, RespectAbility’s President and CEO. “In 2022, for our inaugural awards, we had the distinct privilege of honoring two incredible advocates in the field, and we cannot wait to review nominations for the current cycle!”

headshot of Justin Chappell wearing glasses grayscale photo

Justin Chappell

The Justin Chappell Memorial Award honors a former or current Apprentice of the National Leadership Program who demonstrates a strong commitment to the advancement of the disability community in policy, entertainment, or philanthropy. The award honors Justin W. Chappell, who devoted his life to human and disability rights and passed away on September 9, 2021. The inaugural winner of this award was Roy Payan, who took on the Los Angeles Community College District School Board and has been fighting to protect the rights of people with disabilities in Los Angeles community colleges.

Steve Bartlett is smiling and wearing a black suit, white shirt, a spotted tie and an american flag pin on his jacket, grayscale photo

Steve Bartlett

The Steve Bartlett Award recognizes and honors an individual in the private or public sector who demonstrates a strong commitment to using the political system to advance public policy in support of people with disabilities. The award recognizes local, state, and national leaders who advocate policies that help advance opportunities for people with disabilities in different areas including economic growth, educational excellence and achievement, sustainability, workforce and employment, and equity. The award honors Steve Bartlett, former Chair of RespectAbility’s Board of Directors, former member of Congress (1983-1991), and former mayor of Dallas (1991-1995). The inaugural winner of this award was Nicole LeBlanc, a seasoned disability policy advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who has years of experience as an advocate in state legislatures and at the federal level.

“Nicole LeBlanc and Roy Payan have set a high bar for recipients of our annual Awards,” said Graciano Petersen, RespectAbility’s Senior Director for Training, Culture, and Leadership Development. “We are proud to be celebrating other committed advocates this year and for many years to come.”

Visit RespectAbility’s website to learn how you can nominate someone or yourself for the Justin Chappell Memorial Award or the Steve Bartlett Award. On the website, you also can watch last year’s Awards Ceremony and donate to the Awards fund to enable RespectAbility to continue these Awards in the future.

RespectAbility is a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities and advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future.

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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