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Charting the Way Forward

Strengthening Disability Awareness and Advocacy within the African American Community

group of people sitting around a table talking with their laptops open.

[Image Description:  A group of approximately thirteen people are sitting around long meeting table. Most of them are attentively looking towards one end of the table talking amongst themselves or listening. They have their laptops open in an office meeting room with a large glass window providing a view of buildings outside.]

Charting the Way Forward Recording

Charting the Way Forward English Transcript

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Event Highlights

  • Sold-Out Success: With 119 global Zoom registrations and a 63% global attendance rate, our event was a testament to the growing interest and commitment to disability advocacy and inclusion.
  • Engagement and Reach: The event enjoyed immense engagement, evidenced by 1,500 event QR code scans, over 30,000 social media impressions, and over 400 website clicks, demonstrating the powerful conversations and connections made.
  • Powerful Conversations:  Delved into topics such as the intersectionality of race and disability, systemic barriers to education, employment, and transportation, and the importance of community leadership in advocating for change.

Event Information

  • Event Title:  Charting the Way Forward: Strengthening Disability Awareness and Advocacy within the African American Community
  • Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024
  • Time: 11:00am-2:00pm (Eastern Standard Time)/ Virtual Doors Open at 11:00am EST/ Event Starts at 11:30am EST
  • Location: Zoom
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Event Description: Panel discussions featuring veteran Black advocates with life experience from diverse range of disabilities discussing the need for Black leaders to help fight for better outcomes for everyone.


Patrick Cokley, Senior Program Officer, Equity and Social Justice Partnerships at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Shameka Andrews, Disability Consultant, Author, State Coordinator of Ms. Wheelchair NY

Christopher Johnson, CEO of Creative Minds, Gallaudet University Project Manager, Division of Equity, Diversity and Inclusive Excellence, Adjunct Professor at Howard Community College

Ola Ojewumi, Founder and Director at Project ASCEND

Dr. D'Arcee Charington Neal, Assistant Professor at Fairfield University

Neal Carter, Co-Founder of Disability Victory

Tameka Citchen-Spruce, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, LEAD Co-Director, Owner of Living Unapologetically Media LLC.

Thomas Reid, Producer of Reid My Mind Podcast

Korian “Koko” DeMont Thomas, Student at New York University (NYU) majoring in Public Health

Opening Speakers

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado, Lieutenant Governor of New York State

    Stefani L. Zinerman, New York State Assemblymember Representing the 56th District (Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights)

      Sherman Gillums, Jr., U.S. Marine Officer (retired)

        Congressman Jamaal Bowman, U.S. Representative for New York's 16th Congressional District

          Usherla DeBerry, Acting Director of the Maryland Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

            Andrew Reese, Director of the DC Department on Disability Services

              Dr. Edward O. Manyibe, Langston University, Research Director at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Research and Capacity Building for Minority Entities

              Melissa Navarro, Community Manager for Foundation Fighting Blindness

                Event Sponsors

                In Kind Promotional Supporters


                • Tiffany Markey-Jacobs
                • Elif Erbuga
                • Talia Harris
                • Christopher Bonner
                • Bonnie Wekesa

                Accessibility Companies for Event

                • Real time captioning in English and Spanish provided by Temeku Professional Services (Woman Owned/African American Owned/Disabled Veteran Owned)
                • American Sign Language (ASL), Tactile ASL (TASL) services provided by Natural Languages

                Accessibility Support at Event

                Sponsorship Options

                We offer comprehensive visibility across our platforms, reaching a diverse audience exceeding 50,000 individuals. This exposure provides a unique opportunity for your brand to resonate with a community that values inclusivity, accessibility, and equity. Event Sponsorship Information Letter.

                Event Organizers

                Marc Safman, CEO of Safman Consulting

                Marc Safman has lived with deafblindness since 1986. Marc has spent his entire career improvising communication solutions. After graduating from Knox College, Galesburg, IL with a desire to go to law school, he worked on litigation projects and residential real estate. After working on copper trading related litigation, he became interested in Know Your Customer and derivatives documentation. At the end of 2003 he earned a diploma from New York University's Paralegal Studies program. He started focusing on regulatory and compliance issues. He has worked as full-time permanent or consultant roles in anti-money laundering projects with several global and regional financial institutions. Marc is an avid networker. Until the technology meaningfully improved in 2016, pen and paper were primary tools for interacting with people. He is a subject matter expert about the interactive process, reasonable accommodations that provide Meaningful Access to Effective Communication. He started Safman Consulting because businesses, organizations, networking groups of all sizes still do not understand how to conduct an effective interactive process, hold accessible events, or engage disabled communities.

                Jourdan Saunders, CEO

                Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) for over 11 years using her expertise as the CEO of The Resource Key which promotes inclusion and accessibility in digital marketing to ensure people with disabilities and older adults are included. She was awarded LinkedIn Top Voices 2020: Equity in the Workplace, established one of the first resource websites for students interested in the field of Speech Language Pathology which has received recognition worldwide, owner of one of the largest SLP resources groups on LinkedIn with over 20,000 members, and selected as top 100 Speech Language Pathologists impacting the field.

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