Samantha Crane is Director of Public Policy at the national office of Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). Samantha previously served as staff attorney at the Bazelon Center of Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and as an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. From 2009 to 2010, Samantha served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge William H. Yohn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
She graduated magna cum laude in June 2009 from Harvard Law School, where she was Senior Content Editor for the Journal of Law and Gender.. During law school she interned at the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she worked in the Disability Rights Section. She also interned at the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability, the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts and Harvard Law School’s clinical programs in special education and in disability and estate planning. Samantha holds a B.A. from Swarthmore College, with high honors, in Psychology.
Horacio Esparza has been the Executive Director of Progress Center for Independent Living since 2008, after serving in other positions there since 1999. He also produces and hosts the first radio show in the country dedicated to disability rights, culture and the independent living philosophy. The radio show “Vida Independiente” (“Independent Living”) is transmitted live every Saturday morning from 9am to noon on WNTD 950 AM and on streaming live audio around the world at www.radiovidaindependiente.com; the first hour is in English followed by two hours in Spanish.
Horacio Esparza is a highly sought speaker on the subject of people with disabilities at the local, national and international level. Recent speaking engagements include presentations at annual conferences at the ISPALMER held in Bayomon, Puerto Rico, the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., and Fiesta Educativa in California.
Horacio Esparza was born in the city of Zacatecas, México, studied at the school for the blind in the City of Guadalajara, Jalisco and went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Hispanic-American Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He also received a degree in philosophy from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Jalisco. Horacio is a member of the Illinois Statewide Hispanic Council and an active participant in the Immigrants with Disabilities Rights Project. He is a recipient of the 2006 William F. Lynch Award from the Guild for the Blind.
Horacio is a long time member of Not Dead Yet, participating in a Chicago protest at a Final Exit Network conference, and representing NDY in national and local Spanish media coverage of the assisted suicide issue.
Dominick Evans is a proud disabled trans quip (queer crip) who has spent the last several years studying film and the media in relation to disability. A filmmaker, activist, and Media & Entertainment Advocate for the Center of Disability Rights, much of his work has centered on advocating for greater inclusion for disabled people in the film industry. He also believes that acceptance of disabled people will only come when the media presents better, more accurate, and nuanced portrayals about disabled people, which should not have to be centered around their disability! Part of that fight includes fighting against the message that it is better to be dead than disabled. He brings that fight to NDY. Dominick’s work has been featured at New York comic con, the Obama White House, and in several publications including the New York Times and Teen Vogue. At CDR, Dominick has been working on multiple projects, which are about to be announced. This work includes the #LiveOn Project, a media project encouraging disabled people to keep living and that suicide is not the answer. He lives in Dayton with his partner of 14 years and their son. You can check out his work here: dominickevans.com
Amy E. Hasbrouck
Amy E. Hasbrouck has been a disability rights activist for more than 30 years. Ms. Hasbrouck’s activism combines her personal experience with congenital and acquired disability with a cross-oppression analysis gained through involvement in the women’s rights, anti-war, LGBT, and other social justice movements. She worked in architectural access and the independent living movement before graduating from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997. Her subsequent legal work focused on health and mental health law and implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ms. Hasbrouck has focused her writing and research skills on abuse of children and adults with disabilities, producing a groundbreaking report on prosecution and sentencing of parents who kill their disabled children in 1997. This study led to her involvement with Not Dead Yet, the disability rights-based opposition to assisted suicide, euthanasia, and other “end-of-life” practices that discriminate against people with disabilities which continues to this day. Ms. Hasbrouck is currently a board member of Not Dead Yet in the U.S., and Director of Toujours Vivant-Not Dead Yet, a project of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to expand the reach of CCD’s ending of life ethics committee. She lives with her husband in Québec, Canada.
Kevin Irvine is a disability rights advocate in Chicago with a particular interest and expertise in public & private transportation issues. From 1998 – 2006, Kevin worked at Equip for Equality (Illinois’ Protection & Advocacy system) as a Senior Advocate with dual responsibilities as EFE’s Transportation Advocate and as a member of EFE’s Training Institute. Currently, Kevin serves as a Director on the Boards of the Chicago Transit Authority and Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago. Kevin’s commitment to the disability-rights movement developed from his life experiences as a person with multiple disabilities – He was born with Hemophilia B, a bleeding disorder, has lived with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C for over 30 years, and has had two total left knee replacements. His wife was also born with a disability and uses a wheelchair. In 2006, Kevin left EFE to serve as an at-home parent shortly after adopting their daughter, who has significant physical disabilities, including Apert Syndrome. As a volunteer, Kevin has organized and been involved with many disability groups, including Chicago ADAPT, Not Dead Yet, Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power) and Chicago’s Annual Disability Pride Parade.
Bob Liston was an original member of Not Dead Yet, and participated in multiple actions in Michigan against Jack Kevorkian, the Hemlock Society, an Ethics conference and the Michigan Legislature when it sought, and failed, to pass a law permitting assisted suicide.
Bob retired in 2016 from the Rural Institute at the University of Montana where he worked with CILs across the country as part of disability research, education and services. He was formerly the Executive Director of Montana Fair Housing, which received more complaints from persons with disabilities than any other protected class. Born and raised in Montana, at age 16 Bob sustained a spinal cord injury as the result of being an “invincible teenager” (auto accident.) He has used a wheelchair since 1971.
Bob has also been a small business owner, and worked for the Montana state government in several capacities, one as the staff person to Montana’s “Governor’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped” in the early ’80’s. Bob has been involved with several Independent Living Centers in Montana as a peer, board member, board president and consultant. He also served two terms on the Montana Statewide Independent Living Council, and is a past board member and board president of the Montana Disability Rights Network, and board member and Vice Chair for the National Fair Housing Alliance.
Bob is also an active member of both ADAPT and NDY, and proudly “does what it takes” to make change for persons with disabilities.
Carrie Ann Lucas
Carrie Ann Lucas is the founder and executive director of the Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities in Windsor, Colorado. Ms. Lucas is an attorney who specializes in representing parents with disabilities. Ms. Lucas consults with attorneys around the nation regarding issues affecting parents with disabilities. She is a former Petra Foundation Fellow and Equal Justice Works Fellow. Ms. Lucas has spent over fifteen years working for disability rights organizations, and was lead plaintiff in an epic 7-and-a-half-year suit against Kmart that resulted in the largest and most far-reaching accessibility class action settlement in history. Ms. Lucas is a power wheelchair and ventilator user due to a neuromuscular disease. She is also an advocate for children with disabilities. She has adopted four older children, all of whom have multiple disabilities – Heather, Asiza, Adrianne, and Anthony.
Shonda McLaughlin has over twenty years of experience and training in the disability field. Growing up in rural South Georgia, Shonda dealt with many attitudinal and physical barriers due to her own experience with disability. However, those barriers all played an intricate role in self-advocacy and advocacy for and with others.
Currently, Shonda serves at the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. Daily, she advocates for the needs of Veterans service-connected disabilities. In that role, Shonda, with Veterans, has also developed a mentoring program, a Veterans’ resource center, and a Veterans’ club. Also, she has worked in various positions of leadership in various places of employment, such as the Acting Chief of Quality Assurance and Federal Compliance; Professor; Director and Coordinator of Graduate and Undergraduate Rehabilitation Programs; and Programs Manager of National Leadership and Mentoring. While a professor, Shonda was appointed to the Statewide Independent Living Council of Oklahoma. She also once secured more than $500,000 in grant funding to educate and train students on rehabilitation counseling and independent living. Shonda has conducted national, international, and local presentations on disability.
Shonda graduated with her PhD in Rehabilitation Research and Education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Along with educating others on disability, Shonda enjoys volunteering, mentoring others, painting, reading, and writing.
William J. Peace
Bill Peace earned a PhD in anthropology with distinction from Columbia University in 1992. His research interests include the history of anthropology, body art and modification, bioethics, and disability studies. He has published articles in journals such as the American Anthropologist, Journal of Anthropological Research, Counter Punch, Ragged Edge and the Hastings Center Report. He also maintains a blog badcripple.blogspot.com.
Anne Sommers is the Director of Legislative Affairs and Outreach at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency in Washington, DC. Prior to her time at NCD, Anne served as Policy Counsel at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Anne graduated from the William and Mary School of Law. Prior to pursuing her law degree, Anne worked in marketing and copywriting in the health insurance industry, and prior to that, as a free-lance journalist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Anne graduated summa cum laude and received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Virginia Tech University, where she was the Opinions Editor of the university’s award-winning student newspaper. Anne’s co-authored op-eds have been featured in the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner , and Newsday , and a paper she authored regarding wrongful life litigation earned her the distinction of Benjamin Rush Health Law Scholar in 2005. Her interests include health policy, bioethics, and powerlifting.
Mike joined Not Dead Yet at its inception in 1996. He had been on the staff of the Capital District Center for Independence in Albany, New York, and later was on the Board of Directors. He has written op-ed columns for his local newspaper, the Times Union, and remains a tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
Emily Wolinsky serves as President and Executive Director of NMD United, a peer-led and run non-profit organization that connects adults with neuromuscular disabilities (NMDs) to Independent Living resources. As part of her work for NMD United, in 2015-2016, Wolinsky led the Dear Julianna letter writing campaign fueled by the words of disability activist and personal hero, Harriet McBryde Johnson -“Storytelling is a survival tool.” Dear Julianna amplified the voices of others living with lifelong disabilities, who fight against the “better dead than disabled” stereotype and gained national attention from CNN, People Magazine, the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), KevinMD.com, and New Mobility magazine. In recognition of her work, New Mobility honored Ms. Wolinsky as one of the six People of the Year in 2016 for her advocacy and activism efforts supporting various Not Dead Yet actions involving protecting children from medical neglect at the hands of their parents.
Ms. Wolinsky holds a master’s degree in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University, a secondary educator’s certification from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Wolinsky currently works for Austin Community College as a Student Accessibility Services Specialist in Austin, Texas. When she is not at the office or leading NMD United, Emily spends her free time updating her various personal disability-themed blogs (www.cripbitch.com, www.cripnovella.com, and www.urinationchronicles.com) and converting her home, which she shares with her boyfriend and two dogs, into a Smart(er) Home that will someday be able to take over all of her responsibilities and allow her to just sit back and watch Netflix all day.