Using All the Tools in Your Toolbox: Maximizing Your Chapter's Impact Through Legal Advocacy

Tuesday, July 24
3:15 PM - 4:45 PM
Location: The Admiral's Quarters

This presentation seeks to educate The Arc’s chapters on how they can use legal advocacy as a tool to achieve a more inclusive society for people with I/DD and their families. Since 1950, The Arc has played a key role in establishing federal disability rights laws—such as the IDEA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the ADA—and has fought tooth and nail to establish, expand, and maintain critical federal programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, and the ACA. These laws and programs make community living possible for people with I/DD and litigation is a vital tool to ensure their promise is fully realized. Through its Legal Advocacy Fund, The Arc participates in individual and systemic litigation and amicus briefs to advance the rights of our constituents in areas such as community integration, fair housing, employment, education, criminal justice, parenting, and self-determination. The Arc’s Director of Legal Advocacy will begin the presentation with an overview of litigation The Arc is engaging in and explain why this is a critical tool to achieve our shared mission. Chapter Executive Directors from Delaware, Connecticut, Georgia, and Pennsylvania will then share their chapters’ experiences and successes using litigation in their advocacy work.

Shira Wakschlag

Director, Legal Advocacy & Associate General Counsel
The Arc of the United States

Shira joined The Arc in 2014. Her work involves directing The Arc’s participation in disability rights litigation, working closely with The Arc’s state chapter network, and performing general counsel responsibilities. Shira is the Chair of the Disability Rights Committee within the American Bar Association’s Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice and on the board of the Disability Rights Bar Association. Prior to joining The Arc, Shira worked on civil and disability rights impact litigation as a Skadden Public Interest Attorney Fellow at Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and as an attorney at a civil rights law firm. Shira received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 2010 and her B.A. from Brown University in 2006.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Shira Wakschlag

Win Evarts

Executive Director
The Arc Connecticut

Win Evarts is the Executive Director of the Arc Connecticut and a parent of a 27 year-old young man with I/DD. Prior to coming to the Arc, Win had a 25- year career in finance centered on relationship building through creative, collaborative problem solving. Win's focus is on increasing access to individualized residential supports by expanding choice, and promoting meaningful employment and community participation opportunities by focusing on quality outcomes.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Win Evarts

Stacey Ramirez

State Director
The Arc Georgia

Stacey Ramirez is the State Director of The Arc Georgia, a state office of The Arc of the United States. Prior to joining The Arc team, she was the Director of Individual and Family Supports at the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University. Stacey brings more than 18 years of experience as an advocate and trainer in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities to her role in working with chapters of The Arc across Georgia. She has built a career focused on cultural competent family support and person-centered planning with a particular interest in furthering the human and civil rights. Stacey is privileged to partner with fellow public policy advocates to advance a shared goal to improve community access for people with I/DD. She is most proud of being the mother of three boys, one of whom has autism.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Stacey Ramirez

Terry D. Olson

Executive Director
The Arc of Delaware

Terry Olson has been the Executive Director for The Arc Delaware since 2012. Terry began his work teaching and supporting people with I/DD in 1977. Most of his career has been spent administering residential services for persons with I/DD in Minnesota, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. Terry founded successful Human Rights Committees in three states and remains committed to supporting persons with I/DD to have meaningful, productive and empowered lives of choice in our communities.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Terry Olson

Maureen Cronin

Executive Director
The Arc Pennsylvania

Maureen Cronin is the Executive Director for The Arc of Pennsylvania, the state’s largest civil rights advocacy organization for persons with I/DD, and their families. Prior to this position she served within Pennsylvania’s state government in a number of disability service related roles. Her experience includes being part of the closure of Pennhurst and being a parent of a child with disabilities.

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Maureen Cronin


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