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6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities


Friday, February 17, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (MST)

6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Gold Sponsor   more info Ended $3,000.00 $0.00
Featured Exhibitor   more info Feb 6, 2017 $1,500.00 $0.00
Silver Sponsor   more info Feb 6, 2017 $350.00 $0.00
Bronze Sponsors   more info Feb 6, 2017 $250.00 $0.00
Full Page (5 X 8) - For-Profit Rate Feb 6, 2017 $100.00 $0.00
Full Page (5 X 8) - Non-Profit Rate Feb 6, 2017 $75.00 $0.00
Half Page (5 x 3 7/8) - For-Profit Rate Feb 6, 2017 $75.00 $0.00
Half Page (5 x 3 7/8) - Non-Profit Rate Feb 6, 2017 $50.00 $0.00
General admission   more info Not Started $70.00 $0.00
Professional   more info Not Started $90.00 $0.00
Professional with CEUs   more info Not Started $135.00 $0.00
Legal Aid, Government, Nonprofit Attorneys (CLE credit available for Attorneys)   more info Not Started $185.00 $0.00
Private Practice Attorneys (CLE credit available for Attorneys)   more info Not Started $250.00 $0.00

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Event Details

 African American Conference on Disabilities



February 17, 2017

Desert Willow Conference Center

Phoenix, Arizona 

+Youth Track

*CLE credit available for Attorneys


Opening Session:  8:15 am - 8:50 am

Antwan C. Davis, MPA

Will speak on the maturation process of an individual who grew up facing many life challenges which included a broken home, a mild case of ADHD, criminal behavior, incarceration, etc.


Session 1:   9:00 am - 10:15 am

Phoenix Police Department:  Engagement and Outreach

The Phoenix Police Department is charged with ensuring the safety and security of each person in our community.  Multiple programs are in place to engage residents, families, and individuals who live, work, and play within our city.  Participants who attend this session will hear from a panel of Phoenix Police Officers who will share information on programs and enforcement measures which impact those with disabilities, including Crisis Intervention, Bias Crimes, Community Engagement and Outreach, and the School Resource Officer Program. 


The ABC’s: African Americans Blindness and Culture

Jordan Moon

Roy Stenson

Sharonda Greenlaw

This workshop will explore life and history of the African American community and its dealing with blindness. We will focus on the history of life for African Americans who are blind. We will examine in depth the cultural implications, including family dynamites, youth struggles, expectations, and what it truly means to be independent. We will discuss the availability and limitations of resources. We will utilize music, PowerPoints and audience interaction. 


Appropriate Referrals and Assessments for Individuals from Diverse Cultural Backgrounds

Traci A. Williams, Ph.D., NCSP

Arizona Certified School Psychologist

Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Arizona Licensed Psychologist

Individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds are often over or under-represented when it comes to various services provided in the educational, home or clinical setting.  The options available can become overwhelming and possibly lead to inappropriate evaluations and/or services.  The objectives of the workshop include:

  • Interventions vs Accommodations vs Modifications
  • Explanation of Assessment Instruments Used
  • Measurement terminology clarification
  • IDEA versus DSM-5 Diagnoses


* Tips for Making the Case to Employers, ADA Coordinators, and Courts for Workplace Reasonable Accommodations  

Christopher Houk, Attorney  

Gillespie, Shields, Durrant & Goldfarb 


Christian Carlsen

Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law

Tracie DeFreitas

Lead Consultant

Job Accommodation Network

This panel of attorneys will offer a practical and legal guide to requesting and negotiating with employers to create and implement a reasonable accommodation plan for employees with disabilities.  The workshop will also address the limitation period for enforcing a reasonable accommodation violation and a round-up of recent legal cases and settlements addressing various reasonable accommodations for the workplace.       


+Get up, Stand up: Stand up for Your Right to Vote

Youth Action Council of Arizona

People First of Arizona

Southwest Institute for Families and Children

The power of the vote can change your life whether you are voting on a referendum, for state representatives, or for the leader of the free world. Know your rights and responsibilities as a voter with a disability. Learn about voter registration requirements, your rights to having an accessible ballot, and your responsibilities in being an informed voter. Discuss how to overcome situations when facing barriers to voting. Your vote is your voice and you have the right to be heard.


Navigating AHCCCS and Appealing the Denial of a Health Care Service

Sarah Kader

Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law

Have you or a family member been denied a wheelchair?  Have you or a family member been approved for an augmentative communication device that doesn't meet your unique needs? Have you or a family member been offered less habilitation service hours than are necessary?   Have you or a family member been authorized for physical therapy only to find there are no physical therapy providers in your area?  If you have had been denied these and other important health care services by AHCCCS or the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), this training is for you.  This training will provide practical tips about:  1) what you and your health care provider can do to increase the chances that you have submitted the necessary information to support your request, 2) the steps to appeal a denial of necessary health care services, and 3) suggestions for getting those services delivered once approved.   


Session 2:   10:30 am - 11:45 am

Access to care: African Americans and Stigmatization

Buffy T. Wooten, Ph.D.

Phoenix Professional Practice Associates, LLC

This workshop will present statistics relevant to the prevalence of mental health conditions among African Americans and their use of mental health resources. The obstacles that interfere with access to care will be explored including financial, social and psychological. Efforts to improve access by implementing education, racially consistent resources, and community identification will be discussed.


* Preserving Voting Rights for People with Disabilities Under Guardianship    

Maya Abela, Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law

The right to vote is a fundamental political right.  This panel will look at the history of this recent change in state law, how to raise voting rights during the guardianship proceeding or after a limited guardian has been appointed, the type of information that judges may consider in making this decision, and appeal rights.  The panel will also discuss how various probate courts in the state are handling these requests and disseminating information to the public and attorneys practicing in this area.       


Your Rights as an Applicant or Client of Vocational Rehabilitation

Donald Thompson, MA CRC

Vocational Rehabilitation, Unit Supervisor


+Youth to Adult Transition: Planning and Preparing for Life After High School

Jacy Farkas, MA

University of Arizona, Sonoran UCEDD

Christopher Trujillo, OTD, OTR/L, GCG

Northern Arizona University

This session will discuss what students with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who support them should consider in preparing for life after high school. The presenters will discuss the components and best practices for transition planning, as well as what that process may look like. Resources will be provided.


ROADMAP TO THE IEP PROCESS - Learn Your Rights, Know Your Rights and Protect Your Rights.


Jessica Jansepar Ross

Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law


Anna B. Branson

Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law


Preparing for a meeting is the most overlooked, and most important, step in the process of developing a successful Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a child.  This presentation will focus on the key components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), such as explanations of the school districts’ responsibility to identify children who may need services, evaluations, or placements, and what constitutes a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). In addition, the workshop will provide parents with practical advice and strategies when working with school personnel. 


The Challenges of Black Veterans Adapting into the Disability Community

Dr. Danita Applewhite


Does the psychological and social impact of racism and disability affect  Black and Hispanic Veterans more than White Veterans?

Join us for an overview of the research and learn ways to minimize the impact on school, work, and LIFE!   

Is it true that that "minorities and female veterans often were treated as second-class citizens by VA and other federal agencies, despite wounds, illnesses and injuries as serious as those that white GIs suffered?".

Hear some positive stories of how the VA is improving mental and physical health care for ALL veterans.


How do Veterans overcome mental illness, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse disorders, depression, anxiety, military sexual trauma..and more.? 

An intense look at why getting disability benefits and accommodations for mental health and learning challenges is so difficult. Get informed about why 70% of all claims are declined. Learn some secrets about how to apply and appeal disability benefits.


What does it feel like to be a veteran labeled disabled, unemployed, homeless, mentally ill and Black,too? 

You will be inspired by the hearing the stories of how many men and women veterans have changed their perception of disabled to differently-abled!


Lunch:  11:45 am - 1:00 pm

Keynote speakerDr. Matthew C. Whitaker is the Founder and CEO of the Diamond Strategies, LLC (DSC). He is also an award-winning educator, author, community engagement specialist, motivational speaker, and founder the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, winner of the 2014 Arizona Diversity Leadership Alliance (DLA) Inclusive Workplace Award, at Arizona State University, where is was a professor of history for 15 years.  Most recently he was given DLA’s 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Leader Award. He specializes in U.S. history, African American history and life, race relations, diversity, equity, and inclusion.  He has edited three books, including Hurricane Katrina: America’s Unnatural Disaster, and he is the author of Race Work: The Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West.  He is currently completing a memoir entitled The Undisputed Truth: A Revolutionary Journey to Black Manhood.  He has consulted, spoken, and lectured in Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Ghana, and Ireland.  Has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, WVON, KEMET, and was given ASU’s 2015 Pioneer Award for working to improve African-American life, community and culture.  Dr. Whitaker is also a co-founder of the Healing Racism Public Dialogue Series, winner of the 2008 National League of Cities Promoting Inclusive Award, and the City of Phoenix 2006 Martin Luther King, Jr. Living the Dream Award.  He can be followed on Twitter at @Dr_Whitaker and DSC can be followed on Twitter at @dstategiesllc.

Session 3:  1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Child Welfare and Disabilities: Issues and Resources

Dr. Erica McFadden,  Executive Director, Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council

Erica Quintana, Policy Analyst, Morrison Institute for Public Policy

African American youth with disabilities are over-represented in the child welfare system due to a number of systemic barriers, including poverty, lack of access to medical care and therapies, and lack of culturally sensitive policies and training. This session will discuss these barriers, how they contribute to over-representation in the system, and how they may be addressed. We will also discuss the most common type of child maltreatment– neglect– and how this closely relates to systemic barriers. In addition, we will identify strategies and resources to help prevent neglect and help support and connect children and families in the foster care system, so they don’t feel alone. 


Discipline Disproportionality and Arizona Schools

Jean Ajamie
Institute for Human Development
Northern Arizona University


Jessica Jansepar Ross

Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law

This workshop will examine the disparity in discipline, over identification, and provision of special education services regarding African American students with disabilities. Presenters will discuss resources that are available to evaluate whether discipline disproportionality exists in specific schools, as well as provide strategies for addressing disproportionality. ​


*Preventing Housing Eviction Using the Fair Housing Act and Arizona Landlord Tenant Act  

Stanley Silas

Senior Staff Attorney

Community Legal Services


Rose A. Daly-Rooney

Legal Director

Arizona Center for Disability Law

Suppose a tenant with a disability is being evicted because of behavior or characteristics related to the person’s disability, such as complaints from other tenants of disturbing behavior by a tenant with mental illness, damages caused by a wheelchair in a narrow hallway, or an assistance animal being off-leash to perform a disability-related task.  This panel of attorneys will discuss 1) making reasonable accommodation requests and using Fair Housing provisions to prevent eviction or to request that landlords withdraw notices for tenants to vacate, 2) the course of eviction proceedings in Justice Court, 3) legal and practical tips about whether to raise the Fair Housing Act as a defense during an eviction proceeding, and 4) why preventative legal steps hold more promise than winning an eviction proceeding.  


+Youth to Adult Transition: Changing Landscapes and Successful Practices in Employment & Postsecondary Education

Youth Panel; Moderated by Laura Schweers & Susan Voirol

University of Arizona, Sonoran UCEDD

Research shows that people who work have a higher quality of life, greater community participation, and are more likely to make their own choices about how they live their lives. Presentation moderators will share information regarding federal legislation and the Statewide Employment First initiative that prioritizes efforts to support all people with disabilities, including youth/young adults, in obtaining employment skills training, exploring the world of work, and pursuing a life of independence in their communities. Participants will become familiar with multiple community resources and programs including Project SEARCH, an employment training program housed within a business setting that trains youth/young adults through unpaid rotations and employability curriculum with the outcome goal of competitive, integrated employment for all participants. Participants will hear from youth/young adults who are in various stages of transition to adulthood; panel presenters will identify supports and services that have assisted them in transition, offer tips to young people currently transitioning from high school to adult living, and describe their unique experiences.


Disability Benefits 101 – Employment, Economic-Stability, and Empowerment

Nicholas Love

Ability360 Benefits 2 Work

Program Manager

Disability Benefits 101 (DB101) is a user-friendly online tool that helps work through the myths and confusion of Social Security benefits, healthcare, and employment. DB101 is useful to both people receiving Social Security benefits and those who are not. Come learn the truth. Learn how DB101 can ease fears and empower individuals in making informed decisions that will lead to a more self-sufficient and financially productive life through employment.  


In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness

Terry McDermott, Peer Program Coordinator, NAMI Valley of the Sun

Do you have a family member, friend, coworker or acquaintance living with a mental illness? Do you enjoy hearing success stories filled with inspiration? Do you believe in the power of hope? Two presenters will walk you through their journey to recovery…They will speak of their despair and of their hope… How they are leading successful lives despite their illness.


Session: 4:   2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

*Representation of Individuals with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities -

Practical and Ethical Considerations When Representing Clients with Disabilities

Susan Marks, JD, PhD

Attorney at Law

Susan Marks & Advocates, PLLC


Asim Dietrich, Staff Attorney

Arizona Center for Disability Law


+Youth to Adult Transition: Advocating to Lead Your Life

Arizona Youth Leadership Forum (AZYLF) Alumni; Moderated by Melissa Ann Santora, AZSILC/AZYLF

A diverse panel of youth who have disabilities will present their experiences with transition, self-advocacy, and personal leadership responsibilities. Incorporating group exercises and individual goal setting activities, this session will provide insights and strategies for developing skills and strengths leading to independence.

Babies Dying, Mothers Crying

# Who Really Cares?

Roy T. Dawson, Director

Arizona Center for African American Children (AzCAAC)

This workshop will highlight the status of efforts to reduce the rate of infant mortality among African American children in Arizona. Specific focus will target the related strategies, spending, support, coordination, costs, and outcomes over the past five years.


FDIC Money Smart - Financial Recovery Workshop

Maxine E P (MAX) White, MBA, Assistant Vice President;

            Employee Relations Consultant, Global Human Resources

Bank of America


This final course in the FDIC Financial Education Curriculum is intended to help participants:


                  1.  Evaluate their current financial situation

  •          2.  Develop a financial recovery plan  
  •          3.  Find realistic ways to implement the recovery plan
  •          4.  Understand the importance of evaluating and adjusting the recovery plan


Alzheimer’s What You Need to Know

Angela M. Allen, PHD, CRRN


Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life.

This workshop will examine the impact of Alzheimer’s on the individual, family and society. In addition, participants will learn to implement 8 particular strategies to avoid many of the common problems that arise when caring for a person with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.

Closing Session: 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm 

For registration assistance, contact David Carey at Ability360 at  or by phone at (602) 443-0723


Have questions about 6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities? Contact Ability360

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When & Where

Desert Willow Conference Center
4340 East Cotton Center Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85040

Friday, February 17, 2017 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (MST)

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Ability360 is Arizona’s largest Center for Independent Living. Ability360 offers and promotes programs designed to empower people with disabilities to take personal responsibility so they may achieve or continue independent lifestyles within the community.

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6th Annual African American Conference on Disabilities
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