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ADA National Network Learning Session: The Recommendations from DHS' Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) after the Disasters of 2017

1:30 pm - 3:00 pm CDT, July 11, 2019   |   Organized by: Pacific ADA Center


Following the major hurricanes and wildfires of 2017, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and FEMA conducted listening sessions in a number of areas of the country that were heavily impacted by these disasters. The purpose of the listening sessions was to hear about concerns and experiences related to the impact of the disasters on individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. After better understanding these experiences, CRCL issued a set of recommendations to state, local, territorial, and tribal emergency managers to improve the delivery of disaster assistance to disaster survivors with disabilities. Addressing these recommendations and other sound practices in advance of disasters, may help communities across the country improve their preparedness for the whole community before, during, and after disasters.

Learning objectives:

  • Learn about CRCL recommendations to state, local, territorial, and tribal emergency managers in the areas of preparedness, evacuation, effective communication access for people with disabilities, sheltering, and long-term recovery.

  • Identify federal resources and tools that complement the recommendations.

Rebekah Tosado

Rebekah Tosado is the chief of the Antidiscrimination Group in the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL). The Antidiscrimination Group engages in policy work to ensure fair and equitable treatment of individuals and guard against discrimination based on race, color, national origin (including language proficiency), disability, sex, and age in DHS programs and activities. Through guidance, planning and coordination, Rebekah oversees efforts to ensure that civil rights and civil liberties are upheld in emergency-related federal policies, procedures, and programs.

Brian Parsons

Brian Parsons,Senior Policy Advisor in the Antidiscrimination Group of CRCL, is a subject matter expert on disability policy and inclusive disaster management. His experience includes drafting civil rights language for incorporation into national disaster doctrine, developing guidance for disaster response partners on a variety of disability-related topics, and serving as a Disability Integration Advisor with FEMA on deployment during Hurricanes Ike and Sandy.

Margaret Schaefer

Margaret Schaefer,Senior Policy Advisor in the Antidiscrimination Group of CRCL, works on issues related to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery related to individuals with disabilities and other access and functional needs. Ms. Schaefer contributes to the development of policy and guidance, conducts outreach to nongovernmental organizations that support individuals with disabilities, and supports the work of the DHS Blue Campaign to address human trafficking issues related to individuals with disabilities who have been displaced by disasters.


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