Award Presentation and Lecture

March 31, 2020

2020 Fellow: Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley

Rebecca Cokley

The 2020 Richman Distinguished Fellow in Public Life is Rebecca Cokley, a disabilities rights activist who has sought deeper connections across communities pursuing civil rights.

Cokley is director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, which focuses on expanding opportunity for people with disabilities and building inclusive policies. She previously served four years as the executive director of the National Council on Disability, an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy.

She got her start in the advocacy field at the Institute for Educational Leadership, where she created a number of resources designed to empower and educate youth with disabilities and their adult allies. She also previously served in roles in the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.

Cokley serves on the board of directors for Common Cause, the Community Justice Reform Coalition, and the ACLU of the National Capital Region. In 2017, she and her family were featured as part of CNN’s #ToBeMe series. She has appeared in the Vox/Netflix series “Explained” and on “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver. In 2015, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Equity Fellow and previously a Rockwood Leadership Institute National Leading from the Inside Out Fellow.

Cokley will be in residence Monday, March 30 through Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Cokley’s public presentation and award ceremony will be held on campus March 31. The event is free and open to the public.