On December 12th, Disability Lead announced its class of 21 Fellows for 2020, the largest class in its five-year history. These accomplished leaders represent a cross-section of professionals from the region’s nonprofit, government, corporate and philanthropic sectors.
The announcement was attended by more than 100 Members, supporters, and allies, including State Senator Robert Peters, who keynoted the event. In his remarks to our incoming and graduating classes, he remarked, “By joining [Disability Lead], you are now part of a vision that people with disabilities will lead with influence, and the state of Illinois needs that voice at every table possible. Congratulations for taking the step to lead with your whole self and sharing your needed voice with communities around the region.”
The class of 2020 comes to Disability Lead from more than 17 neighborhoods and communities to build their leadership acumen, explore and define their disability identity, and engage with different perspectives and worldviews.
Throughout the course of the year, these new Fellows will participate in an immersive learning experience that prepares them to collaborate and to lead with their disability identity, supported by the power of a large, effective network. Past Fellows have called the program “transformative,” “of the highest value,” and “like a master class in pride.”
64 individuals applied
21 were invited to be a 2020 Fellow
70% identify as people of color
24% identify as queer or gay
47% reside in City of Chicago
53% reside outside of the City of Chicago
38% are men
62% are women
In addition to the announcement, [Disability Lead's] Board President, Karen Tamley, who also serves as Chicago’s Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, recognized key founder and former Executive Director, Emily Harris, in recognition of her extraordinary service and leadership.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors of [Disability Lead], we express our deepest appreciation for all of Emily’s outstanding contributions. She helped launch and guide this organization, and for that, we are both grateful and commit to continuing her legacy.”