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EPIC: Emergency Practices + Inclusion Conference

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Chemical Heritage Foundation

315 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Philadelphia’s Office of Emergency Management invites you to participate in the upcoming Emergency Practices + Inclusion Conference in Philadelphia.

EPIC aims to equip attendees with the knowledge and skills to better plan for and meet Access and Functional Needs (AFN) of individuals during an emergency. By working to recognize the broad scope of the AFN population - which includes persons from diverse cultures, are transportation disadvantaged, are non-English or English as a second language speakers, with disabilities, among others – we can address a wider array of challenges and barriers.

The day-long conference will feature panel discussions and workshops on a range of topics, such as:

  • Diversity of the AFN community;

  • Challenges and best practices for addressing AFN in a constantly changing landscape;

  • Planning and designing for accessibility;

  • The American Disabilities Act; and

  • Trauma Informed Care.

Additionally, attendees will participate in active roundtable discussions with AFN experts from government, nonprofit, service design, and community organizing. Attendees do not need to be subject matter experts in AFN to participate; varying knowledge and experience is welcome.

Guest speakers at the conference include:

Onleilove Alston, M.Div., MSW,
Executive Director
Faith in New York

Onleilove Alston was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn and she is currently the Director of Faith in New York a federation of over 70 congregations representing 80,000 New Yorkers. Faith in New York is multifaith and multi-race and together they were able to influence how $950 million of Hurricane Sandy recovery funds were spent, and for the first time in U.S. history recovery funds were used to establish a jobs program. The Hurricane Sandy jobs program was a partnership of community and labor creating jobs for those in Sandy-impacted communities to rebuild their communities with good jobs with set aside for the formerly incarcerated, women low-income individuals.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and African-American studies from Penn State University, she completed a year of service with AmeriCorps Public Allies New York. In 2011, she received her Master of Divinity and Master of Social Work degrees from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University School of Social Work, respectively. She is also an Alumni of The Women’s Campaign School at Yale. For more than 10 years, Onleilove has worked for various nonprofit organizations such as Sojourners, NY Faith & Justice, FPWA and United Workers. She is a contributing writer for Sojourners magazine, The Black Commentator, Huffington Post, NPR’s Onbeing blog, as well in publications. For her writing and activism work, Onleilove has received the Bennett Fellowship for Social Justice from Auburn Seminary, the National Association of Social Workers-NYC Scholarship for Social Justice, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Minority Coalition Young Adult Award, and the 2011 Evangelical Press Association’s Student Writer of the Year First Place Award. She serves on the Board of Directors for Sojourners and on the Advisory Boards for the Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary, the Women’s Organizing Network and NYACK College’s School of Social Work. In June 2015, Onleilove was also appointed to the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Sarah Buzogany
Food Resilience Planner
Baltimore Food Policy Initiative

Sarah Buzogany is the Food Resilience Planner for the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative. Sarah provides direct support to the Food Policy Director and works to implement the Food Desert Retail Strategy, analyze policies and best practices, and manage grants. Her major focus areas include equity in the food system; food environment mapping and analysis; food resilience and emergency response; and urban agriculture. Previously, Sarah has worked on sustainable agriculture policy at the state and national levels, managed a farmers market, and researched innovative farmer to consumer and nutrition education models. Sarah earned a Master’s in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts University and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Sustainable Agriculture and Spanish from the University of Kentucky.

Kristen Demaline
Senior Content Strategist
Bureau Blank

As Bureau Blank’s Senior Content Strategist, Kristen Demaline leads projects and develops engaging stories, makes strategic recommendations, and trains the design firm’s clients on communications tools. Recent projects include the ThriveNYC website (NYC Mayor’s Fund), the PlanNow website (NYC Emergency Management), and the NYU StudentLink outreach campaign. Formerly, she was Communications Manager at GRACE Communications Foundation, a leader in promoting sustainable food, renewable energy, and water conservation. Kristen is a writer who holds an MS in Urban Public Policy & Management from The New School and a BA in English & Women’s Studies from The College of Wooster.


Jeanne-Aimée De Marrais
Sen. Director US Emergencies
Save the Children


James Foster. Esq.
Director, DAFN & Compliance
New York City Emergency Management


Eli Fresquez
Assistant General Counsel
Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, New York City

Eli Fresquez is assistant general counsel for the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities where he works on citywide ADA compliance issues and other relevant city, state and local laws. Previously Eli worked at New York City Emergency Management where he incorporated policies and strategies to address issues related to people with disabilities into NYC’s emergency plans. As the agency’s senior planner some of Eli’s efforts include chairing a number of community and interagency task forces, including the Access and Functional Needs Working Group, developing new disability trainings, and serving as the agency’s ADA Coordinator. After graduating from law school, Eli began his career in public service at the Department of Homeless Services where he worked in shelters across the city and later as an agency hearing representative. Eli also worked for the NYS Division of Human Rights where he was responsible for investigating and filing division initiated complaints of systemic discrimination on behalf of the State of New York. Eli is an attorney from New York Law School with BAs in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics from the University of New Mexico.


Neil McDevitt
Executive Director
Deaf Hearing Communications Center

Neil McDevitt is Executive Director for the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre in Swarthmore, PA. DHCC is the largest provider of interpreting services in the Philadelphia region and is also a key provider of advocacy services for communication access for the deaf community in the area as well. Neil joins DHCC after assignments at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Telecommunications for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Inc (TDI), and The Leadership Foundry.

He graduated from Gallaudet University in 1996 with a degree in Government. He lives in North Wales with his wife, two children, a lizard, and a dog.

As a former volunteer firefighter in suburban Philadelphia, McDevitt was one of a handful of emergency responders in the country who are also profoundly deaf. In addition to hands-on fire and rescue experience with the Fire Department of Montgomery Township, he has provided fire safety presentations to deaf children and adults and given non-verbal communication classes to firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Ather Sharif
Founder and Researcher
EvoXLabs

Ather is the Founder and Researcher at EvoXLabs and SCI Video Blog, Philly's 2015 Geek of the Year, a Google Scholar, and a recent graduate with a Masters in Computer Science from Saint Joseph's University. He is a software engineer, freelance web developer, and consultant, and is passionate about researching Web Accessibility and developing jQuery tools to make the web a more accessible place. He's in love with Philly and is a huge fan of the Eagles. Apart from doing all sorts of nerdy stuff, he also volunteers at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, loves drinking frappuccinos and is crazy about Ninja Turtles. Currently, Ather serves as a Software Engineer at Comcast's Core Application Platforms Team.

Vance Taylor
Chief, Office of Access and Functional Needs
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

Luis “Vance” Taylor is the Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. Vance is responsible for ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities and persons with access and functional needs are identified before, during and after disasters and integrated within the state’s emergency management systems.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vance was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and uses a power chair. He has worked in Washington, D.C. as an advisor for two different members of Congress, directed security policy at a national association and been a principal at a top-ranked homeland security and emergency management consulting firm, Catalyst Partners, LLC. Vance is a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for individuals with disabilities.

Vance has a Master's degree in homeland security from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in communications. He is married to his sweetheart, Casey, and they have two beautiful daughters, Isabelle and Sammy.

Vance and his family live in Rancho Cordova, CA.






The Chemical Heritage Foundation is accessible. We will be providing ASL interpreters and CART during the event and as otherwise requested.

If you require a reasonable accommodation, other auxiliary aids and/or services, or have dietary restrictions please contact Samantha Clements at 267.909.1387 or samantha.clements@phila.gov at least one week before this event.

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Chemical Heritage Foundation

315 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19106

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