Announcing Transitions to Adulthood and Ask a Non-Autistic Person Panels! Get your tickets today!

Join us for a special virtual edition of our annual celebration and fundraising event from Thursday, November 12 through Sunday, November 15th. We’re so excited to share the gala with disability community members and allies from across the country and around the world, who usually wouldn’t be able to attend in-person.

We’re happy to announce the panelists who will be joining us for our first two panels, Transitions to Adulthood and Ask a NonAutistic Person!

Colorful swirls come from a microphone underneath photos of the panelists. Their names are above their photos, from left to right: Jordyn Zimmerman, Ivanova Smith, Brent White, Hari Srinavasan, and Ashley Mabry. Text at the top reads “2020 Virtual Gala” and “Transitions to Adulthood Panel.”

Featuring autistic self-advocates from all walks of life, our Transitions to Adulthood Panel will focus on those tough decisions as we grow and change. Come ready to hear real answers about creating support networks, finding and keeping a job, choosing paths, and navigating college.

Jordyn Zimmerman graduated with her bachelor’s degree in education policy from Ohio University. She is currently pursuing graduate studies at Boston College. In 2014, technology opened up Jordyn’s world, helping her to become an avid advocate. With a determination to help others, Jordyn hopes to become a catalyst for change in education.

Ivanova Smith was born in Latvia, and spent the first 5 ½ years in an institution there before immigrating to the United States. Ivanova is a person with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). Married and parenting a 2 year old daughter, Ivanova is in addition an activist and advocate for employment for people with disabilities. Ivanova works as a faculty member for the University of Washington Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Department. Ivanova is the state President of Self-Advocates in Leadership (SAIL), and a member and President of the Pierce County Chapter of People First of Washington. Ivanova lives with her family in Tacoma, Washington.

Brent White is Autistic, Dyslexic, and multiply Neurodivergent. He is a grassroots researcher and scholar. 12 years ago he designed and has been directing a Community-Based adult transition program for the Berkeley Unified School District as well as a Community-Based adult day program for a non-profit in Berkeley, CA ever since.

ASAN board member Hari Srinivasan is a minimally-speaking autistic at UC Berkeley majoring in psychology and minoring in Disability Studies. At Berkeley, he teaches a semester-long class on autism, is the first nonspeaking president of the student org, Spectrum at Cal, is a Daily Californian journalist and RA at the university Psychology Research Lab as well as the UC Berkeley Lab. Recently Hari was featured on President Obama’s Instagram campaign for the 30th anniversary of ADA.

Ashley Mabry loves to speak in public and tell all people with disabilities about the importance of being a self advocate. She was the president of a local self advocacy group, and is active in her community. Ashley was one of the first students in Colorado’s Inclusive Higher Education Program, attending UCCS and majoring in Self Advocacy and Human Services. She graduated in May 2020. Ashley was named a SARTAC (Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Center) Fellow for 2020-2021, creating resources to teach students to be self advocates in their IEP meetings. In her spare time, when we aren’t in a global pandemic, Ashley enjoys praise dance at her Church, going to movies, and hanging out with friends.

The panel will be moderated by Haley Outlaw.

Colorful swirls come from a microphone underneath photos of the panelists. Their names are above their photos, from left to right: Allegra Heath-Stout, Emily Ladau, Patrick Cokley, Elena Hung, and Maria Town. Text at the top reads “2020 Virtual Gala” and “Ask a Non-Autistic Person Panel.”

Inspired by Autreat, our “Ask a NonAutistic Person” panel will bring some hard-hitting questions and much-needed humor. This is your chance to get answers to what truly confuses us about non-autistics — When did they know they were nonautistic? What’s up with eye contact? And when they ask how we’re doing, do they really not want an answer?!

As Fellowship Director and Trainer at JOIN for Justice, the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network, Allegra Heath-Stout trains Jewish young adults in community organizing. Allegra has spearheaded the creation of the Empower Fellowship and the Access to Power Fellowship, both dedicated to developing the leadership of Jewish young adults with disabilities. Previously, Allegra organized with low-income people with disabilities at Boston Center for Independent Living.

Emily Ladau is a writer and speaker whose career began at age 10, when she appeared on Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and she has spoken before audiences from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. More about Emily’s work can be found on her website, Words I Wheel By. Follow her on Twitter at @emily_ladau.

Patrick Cokley is Disability Policy Engagement Manager at Anthem Inc., supporting Anthem’s continued engagement and communication with stakeholders on healthcare related strategies that affect disability and aging. Prior to joining Anthem, Mr. Cokley worked at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he served as Director of the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) at the Office of Disability Employment Policy. The WRP works with colleges and universities to connect students with disabilities to opportunities for Federal employment. Mr. Cokley’s expertise includes emergency preparedness for individuals with disabilities, as well as the relationship between diversity issues and disability in the workplace. As a graduate of the historically black Howard University, Patrick believes that it is imperative that the disability and traditional diversity communities learn to work together as they both share the core values of inclusion.

Elena Hung is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Little Lobbyists, a family-led organization that advocates for children with complex medical needs and disabilities. Elena, her daughter Xiomara, and families like them have been visiting Capitol Hill and offices across the country to speak with lawmakers about what is possible with access to quality, affordable health care, and what is at stake without it.

Maria Town is the President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.  In this role, she works to increase the political and economic power of people with disabilities. Town is the former senior associate director in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement where she managed the White House’s engagement with the disability community and older Americans. Prior to this, Town was a policy advisor at the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. She has particular expertise in areas of youth development and leadership and promoting college and career readiness for all youth. In addition to her disability policy work, Town is the creator of the popular CP Shoes blog where she writes about fashion, design, and disability. She hails from Louisiana, where her family still resides.

The panel will be moderated by Zoe Gross.

We look forward to hearing from our panelists at our annual gala and hope that you can come celebrate with us!

We ask that our gala attendees donate if they are able, but no donation will be required to attend our virtual gala events. Proceeds will support our advocacy work and programs for the coming year, and allow us to continue working to empower disabled people across the country.

Master of Ceremonies: Nicole Cliffe

More honorees and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

You can RSVP to our Facebook event and invite your friends!

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

PO Box 66122
Washington, DC 20035

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About akutil86

Diagnosed with Aspergers at 34, this blog chronicles some of the life events I've gone through, and how I hope to help others on the Autism Spectrum. Posts that are personal opinions will be moving to another Wordpress site by the end of the year; for those looking for help with autism, I hope you will continue to visit and spread the word about the articles that most of the time are links to something I read. Please let me know what challenges you are facing, and I will do my best to address them. Thanks for reading my blog!
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