Stephanie Woodward

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Stephanie Woodward



Stephanie Woodward is an "emerging disability rights leader" with spina bifida, who was mentored by "many key disability civil rights leaders." She "organized and executed large protests, wrote letters to government officials and testimony for congressional hearings, and organized campaigns on various disability rights issues" under the tutelage of Bruce Darling, Center for Disability Rights’s CEO.

Stephanie Woodward "has been arrested multiple times while advocating for Disability Rights."[1] Stephanie Woodward is a member of ADAPT.[2]

She serves as the Director of Advocacy for the Center for Disability Rights (CDR).[3]

Background

Stephanie Woodward began working with Center for Disability Rights as an intern in 2008 and was later hired as the "Transportation Advocate" before attending law school. Prior to returning to Center for Disability Rights as the Director of Advocacy, Stephanie "worked as a litigator in Miami, Florida focusing on Disability Rights law."

Education

Stephanie Woodward holding a sign saying "Disability Integration Act" at a Ted Cruz rally

Stephanie Woodward attended Syracuse University College of Law where she earned her J.D. with a certificate in Disability Law and Policy and her M.S.Ed. in Disability Studies. She is "particularly interested in deinstitutionalization, community living, ending violence against people with disabilities, and improving access in the community."

Stephanie Woodward has worked with the Olinsky Law Group and the Burton Blatt Institute, and will graduate from Syracuse University College of Law as the Executive Director of the Disability Law Society. She has also worked with the Disability Cultural Center at Syracuse University. Along with being an advocate, she lists as another significant achievement being a quarterfinalist in the Williams Institute Moot Court Competition – the only national competition concerning LGBT rights.

Mentors

The American Bar Association profiled Stephanie Woodward,[4] revealing that she interned with Senator Tom Harkin, and was told by Lee Perselay, Disability Counsel for Senator Harkin, that "even though the fight for disability rights is difficult and exhausting, disability rights advocates never have to take flak from anyone."

The profile continues:

"Bruce Darling, Center for Disability Rights’s CEO, took Stephanie Woodward under his wing and provided her with opportunities to grow her leadership skills. She organized and executed large protests, wrote letters to government officials and testimony for congressional hearings, and organized campaigns on various disability rights issues.
"Yoshiko Dart, who worked alongside Justin Dart to make the Americans with Disabilities Act the law of the land, declares that she is Stephanie Woodward’s “biggest fan” and believes in her and what she can do. Andy Imparato, Disability Policy Director for the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, became a mentor to Woodward when he was President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and she was an AAPD intern. Imparato invoked Woodward as an example of an emerging disability rights leader in his acceptance speech for the National Council for Independent Living’s National Advocacy Award. “I was shocked, flattered, and more confident in myself than ever before after that. His confidence in me helps me to believe that I can really make an impact.”
"While Woodward has benefited from the mentoring and inspiration of many key disability civil rights leaders, she credits her father’s uncompromising expectations for the path she is on. “He never let me use my disability as an excuse and he never coddled me because of my disability…my dad had the highest expectations for me and never sheltered me. This helped me to become a strong and independent woman and to always set high expectations for myself.”

Protesting Mitch McConnell

Stephanie Woodward being carried out of Mitch McConnell's office

Stephanie Woodward was one of the ADAPT members carried out of Senator Mitch McConnell's office on June 22 2017 as they protested the Republican alternative to Obamacare.[5],[6]

Protesting Trump for support of Disability Integration Act

ADAPT members "spent several hours...outside the president’s home calling on the Trump administration to support the Disability Integration Act" on May 16 2017. ADAPT members also protested Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's house to promote the Disability Integration Act.[7]

Stephanie Woodward was quoted in the press release:[8]

"'Ivanka Trump says that she is an advocate for working women,' said Stephanie Woodward. 'This is her chance to show that she means what she says. We hope she will engage in a thoughtful and positive dialogue, and accept our invitation.'"

References