Organizers Forum

The Organizers Forum is a project of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, a national cross-disability coalition of organizations led by disabled people. The forum is coordinated and facilitated by Jessica Lehman, Executive Director of Senior and Disability Action.

There is generally a call on the third Tuesday of each month, 10-11 am PST, 11-12 MST, 12-1 pm CST, and 1-2 pm EST. 

To be added to the email list, please fill out this form. 


December 2022: Hybrid Meetings & Events PART 2

Tuesday, December 20

Register here

Following up on the November call, we’ll discuss a draft “Evolving Guide to Hybrid Events” and share tips and ideas. We’ll also check in about protecting remote participation at government meetings.  

November 2022: Hybrid Meetings & Events

Tuesday, November 15

On this call, we shared learnings and best practices on how to maximize inclusion, accessibility, and engagement by having people participate remotely AND in person. 


  • Lisa Cryer, Deaf interpreter & educational consultant (was unable to attend due to a snowstorm!)
  • Itzel Romero, Systems Change Advocate, Center for Independent Living – Berkeley
  • Peter Estes, Community Resource Program Director, Senior & Disability Action.

Unedited captioning transcript here. 

We are working on an “Evolving Guide to Hybrid Events” and will discuss on our next call!

July 2022:

Honoring the ADA: 

Tuesday, July 26

This event brought community members together to recognize the achievements of the last 32 years, talk about disability pride, and reflect on the intense work still to come.


Morenike Giwa Onaiwu, Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network, on abortion rights & the disability community

Nidhi Jaisoor, Diversability, and

Marisol Ferrante, Independent Living Resource Center SF, on disability pride. 

Captioning transcript here.

Key links:

Everyone Deserves to Make Their Own Choices: A plain language statement about abortion rights and reproductive freedom

A Letter to the Americans with Disabilities Act on Its 32nd Birthday


More links in the chat.


September 2021: Digital Organizing (Part 2)

Tuesday, September 21, 10-11 am PST, 11-12 MST, 12-1 pm CST, 1-2 pm EST

We’ll talk about what we learned from the speakers on the August call and have time to share thoughts and ideas about what digital organizing we’d like to do in our own communities. Please join us!

Click here to register.

August 2021: Digital Organizing

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Video link
Captioning Transcript
Key Notes from the Zoom Chat


Irene Rojas-Carroll, Bay Rising
Andrew Pulrang, freelance writer and co-coordinator of #CripTheVote
Bisma Farzansyed, Senior and Disability Action
Blythe Kim, Detroit Disability Power

Note that we’ll be talking more about how to use social media and other digital technologies on the September Organizers Forum!

April 2021: Mobilizing Disabled People in Support of HCBS in the Federal Recovery Plan

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Video link
Captioning transcript

Thanks to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Arc, and many years of advocacy from disability organizations, the proposed federal recovery plan includes $400 billion for home and community-based services! And President Biden is promoting the fact that this is indeed essential infrastructure. So let’s get organized! On this call, we talk about what is in the bill and how we can mobilize disabled people in support.


Jennifer Lav, Senior Attorney at National Health Law Program

Celeste Faison, Campaigns Director at National Domestic Workers Alliance

Jenn Wolff, Disabled occupational therapist and organizer

Susannah Dyen, Director of Organizing and Field at Caring Across Generations


February 2021: The State of Disability Organizing

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Video link
Written transcript – unedited

Description: Key leaders in disability communities talk about how much power they think we’ve built in disability communities, what we need to be doing differently or better, and what is ahead for disability organizers in 2021.
Karen Tamley, Access Living
Andraea LaVant, LaVant Consulting
Julia Bascom, Autistic Self Advocacy Network


December 2020: Part 2 on Outreach to Disabled Voters

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Video link:

At the November Organizers Forum, we heard about effective and exciting voter outreach projects conducted around the country. And everyone wanted more time to discuss! So we are delighted that all of our speakers from November (listed below) will be joining us for an open discussion on what we’ve learned and what we’d all like to do in the figure to reach disabled voters directly.


November 2020: Direct Outreach to Disabled Voters

Watch here

Read the transcript here

This year, in what has been called the most important election of our lifetimes, disability activists developed new innovative ways to reach out to disabled voters directly. Disability is not labeled in voter lists, making it hard to contact people one-on-one, but experience shows that talking to voters one-on-one is by far the most effective way to ensure that people vote. In addition, reaching disabled people through voter lists can be a way to reach new people to join the movement! On this call, we heard from people in four different organizations, from four different states. They shared what they did, what they learned, and how their methods can be replicated in other areas.

Tova Perlmutter, Detroit Disability Power
C.J. Moit, PAVA Lead/Advocate, Disability Rights South Dakota
Alejandrina Guzman (she/her), People with Disabilities Constituency Organizer, Texas Democratic Party
Ligia Montano (she/her) and Bradley Wiedmaier (he/him), San Francisco Senior and Disability Action


April 2020: Taking Action Against Care Rationing

Transcript of April 2020 Call

This conversation focused on how disability communities can take action against the rationing of care for people with COVID-19, against the potential for disabled people and seniors to be deprioritized. We explored how we can organize our communities to fight back and win. Speakers talked about working to get states to change policies, raising public awareness, and making sure that people in I/DD and nursing home facilities aren’t left to die. We addressed the intersections between ageism, ableism, fatphobia and racism involved here.


Angel Miles, PhD (she/her)
Healthcare/Home and Community Based Services Policy Analyst, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago

Angel Miles received her doctorate in women’s studies at the University of Maryland College Park. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, she joined Access Living. She is responsible for monitoring disability rights developments in healthcare and home and community-based services, and facilitating systems advocacy efforts through an intersectional lens.

Ivanova Smith (she/her/they/theirs)
Chair of Self Advocates in Leadership (SAIL)

Ivanova Smith lives in Tacoma, Washington. They were a plaintiff for a complaint in Washington state about medical care rationing related to COVID-19.

Germán Luis Parodi (he/him)
Co-Executive Director, The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

Germán Parodi is a disabled Puerto Rican, disability rights activist and advocate. He is a first responder and Co-Executive Director of The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, an active community organizer with Philly ADAPT, and a leader in disability rights and full inclusion before, during and after disasters.

Max Airborne (they/them)
Fat Rose

Max Airborne is an organizer for collective liberation, rooted in fat liberation and disability justice. They co-founded Fat Rose:

Cathy Costanzo (she/her)
Executive Director, Center for Public Representation

Cathy Costanzo became the Center’s Executive Director in September 2011. She has worked in the mental disability law field since 1977 and has extensive experience in providing representation to institutionalized persons throughout the country and for litigating ADA/Olmstead cases. She is the former director of the Massachusetts PAIMI Project and the former chair of National Disability Rights Network’s Legal Committee. Ms. Costanzo is co-counsel in a number of class action cases in New Mexico, Massachusetts, Oregon and Ohio which seek to promote the integration and to expand the rights of persons with psychiatric and developmental disabilities.


March 2020: Organizing in the Age of the Coronavirus

Elandria Williams, PeoplesHub
Allegra Heath-Stout, JOIN with Justice
Larry Kleinman

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