July 26, 2019: THE COELHO CENTER DIRECTOR ON THE 29TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

July 26, 2019 –

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. Democratic congressman, disability rights icon and LMU alumnus, the Hon. Tony Coelho (LMU '64), made history as the primary author of the ADA, the most important piece of civil rights legislation in the last three decades. The ADA declared that a person’s rights are not diminished by disability and made it illegal to discriminate against disabled individuals.

As we celebrate the 29th anniversary of the signing of the ADA, we reflect on how far we have come but remain mindful of the work that still needs to be done. LMU launched "The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation" last November 2018, to honor the legacy of the Hon. Tony Coelho and build on the progress of the ADA. Housed at Loyola Law School, The Coelho Center's mission is to "collaborate with the disability community to cultivate leadership and advocate innovative approaches to advance the lives of people with disabilities."

The Americans with Disabilities Act continues to be the guiding legislation for anti-discrimination practices against disabled individuals both in the U.S. and abroad.  Without the ADA, The Coelho Center could not be as effective in pursuing our mission. You can celebrate the 29-anniversary of the ADA by investing in the future of disability law, policy and innovation with a gift to the Coelho Center.

We are proud to announce the creation of The Coelho Center Law Fellowship, the first program of its kind dedicated to creating a pipeline of law students with disabilities to become attorneys, judges, and public policy makers. This month, we welcome our first cohort of fellows, fifteen outstanding individuals from across the nation who we believe are our future leaders in the movement.

As we close this year’s Disability Pride Month, I hope you share with me a renewed sense of commitment toward inclusion of the most marginalized within our community and a robust sense of pride.

"Nothing About Us Without Us!"

- Katherine

Katherine Pérez

Director, The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation

FEB. 7, 2019: THE COELHO CENTER APPLAUDS MICROSOFT'S LEADERSHIP IN CENTERING THE EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles commends Microsoft for its depiction of people with disabilities in the TV ad for its Xbox One Adaptive Controller that ran during Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII.

The commercial, “When Everybody Plays, We All Win,” is a perfect example of the power in media and technology to advance the rights of people with disabilities. These tools of innovation are a focus for The Coelho Center, an interdisciplinary program of Loyola Marymount University. The Coelho Center recently convened the symposium, “Disability Impact: Breaking Through Barriers to Civic Leadership.” In a series of panels, the Nov. 5, 2019 conference examined how media and technology impact and interact with the lives of those with disabilities.

Microsoft’s Super Bowl spot features five children with disabilities: Grover, John, Ian, Taylor and Owen. Importantly, the children are the narrators of their own experiences as video-gamers in the almost two-minute ad.  This is a strong example of using media to give agency to a community that is too often depicted as the pitiable subject, a charity case, or just ignored altogether.

In this ad, Microsoft acknowledges that a one-size-fits-all approach to technology that uses non-disabled bodies and minds as the standard locks out a large portion of the population. “When I’m playing with a regular controller, there are some things that don’t work for me,” says Grover.   

“People with disabilities tend to internalize barriers to participation as a fault of their own – rather than a limitation in the design of technology,” says Katherine Perez, director of The Coelho Center. “Microsoft’s ad demonstrates how when a technological device cannot be used by a person with a disability, it becomes an opportunity for the inventors of the device to improve their design – making it more usable for a greater number of individuals.”

In contrast, when technology is accessible to everyone, it’s not special; it just makes sense.  The Adaptive Controller will now provide a better video game experience for more people.  The disability community has a large contingent of video-gamers.  Thus, Microsoft’s new products are a good example of technology companies following the disabled consumer’s needs and desires rather than a focus on technology unnecessarily trying to normalize us.  The Adaptive Controller celebrates our differences.

“What I like about the Adaptive Controller is that now everyone can play,” says 9-year-old Owen.

“When everybody plays, we all win.”

The Coelho Center couldn’t agree more with Microsoft. It is our mission to bring together thought leaders, advocates and policy makers to discuss and craft agendas that seek positive change for the disability community. And we look forward to continuing the conversation. Learn more at www.lls.edu/coelhocenter.

About The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation

The Coelho Center, housed at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), pursues a unique three-pronged mission: convening thought leaders to pursue positive change on disability issues; leveraging technology to advance the lives of people with disabilities; and creating a pipeline of lawyers with disabilities to populate the bench and hold elected office. The Coelho Center also draws on multiple areas of expertise from other LMU colleges. Founded by former congressman, disability rights icon and LMU alumnus Hon. Tony Coelho (LMU ’64), The Coelho Center is the only organization of its kind at a Catholic university in America and the only one housed at a top U.S. law school. Details about The Coelho Center are available at www.lls.edu/coelhocenter.

About Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Located on an award-winning Frank Gehry-designed campus in downtown Los Angeles, Loyola Law School is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students and cutting-edge programs. The Law School strives to instill in students the knowledge they need to excel on their chosen paths. It dedicates itself to preparing students for the rigors of practice with an extensive portfolio of practical-training opportunities, an 18,000-strong alumni network and a focus on social justice. Learn more at www.lls.edu.

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Dec. 2, 2018: LOYOLA’S COELHO CENTER FOUNDER TONY COELHO STATEMENT ABOUT FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S PASSING

LOYOLA’S COELHO CENTER FOUNDER TONY COELHO STATEMENT ABOUT FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S PASSING As a driving force behind the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Coelho worked closely with then-President Bush to pass the groundbreaking legislation

LOS ANGELES - Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation founder and former U.S. Congressman Tony Coelho has been a key advocate for those with disabilities over the span of his career. As a driving force behind the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, Coelho worked closely with then-president George H.W. Bush to pass the groundbreaking legislation.

Coelho today released the following statement: 

"Former President George H. W. Bush was one of the greatest men I ever knew. He was a great leader and humble public servant. He demonstrated true leadership in fighting for and signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - a crucial piece of legislation in the last thirty years, and one of his greatest legacies. 

Now, 28 years later, people have forgotten how truly groundbreaking and controversial the ADA was at the time. But, back then, President Bush knew well the historic significance of his actions. I remember his words: 

'Last year, we celebrated a victory of international freedom. Even the strongest person couldn't scale the Berlin Wall to gain the elusive promise of independence that lay just beyond. And so, together we rejoiced when that barrier fell.

Now I sign legislation, which takes a sledgehammer to another wall, one that has for too many generations separated Americans with disabilities from the freedom they could glimpse, but not grasp. Once again, we rejoice as this barrier falls, for claiming together we will not accept, we will not excuse, we will not tolerate discrimination in America.'

On that day, President Bush spoke of 'a coalition in the finest spirit-a joining of Democrats and Republicans in working together to craft the ADA. And he recognized the effort's global impact: 'This historic act is the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities - the first. Its passage has made the United States the international leader on this human rights issue.'

Passing the ADA was not without controversy. There were powerful forces opposed to the ADA. I asked the President directly about the significant opposition he was facing. His response to me was simple and direct: "This is of personal interest to me and what you've done is what I want." His final words, right before singing the ADA, sum up his conviction: 'Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.'

May God bless President George H. W. Bush for taking a sledgehammer to the shameful wall of exclusion by signing the Americans with Disabilities Act - his greatest accomplishment. And, may President Bush rest in peace. His greatest legacy, the ADA, lives on. He was my hero and I will miss him as a friend."

About The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation 

The Coelho Center, housed at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles at Loyla Marymount University (LMU), pursues a unique three-pronged mission: convening thought leaders to pursue positive change on disability issues; leveraging technology to advance the lives of people with disabilities; and creating a pipeline of lawyers with disabilities to populate the bench and hold elected office. The Coelho Center also draws on multiple areas of expertise from other LMU colleges. Founded by former congressman, disability rights icon and LMU alumnus Hon. Tony Coelho (LMU '64), The Coelho Center is the only organization of its kind at a Catholic university in America and the only one housed at a top U.S. law school. Details about The Coelho Center are available at www.lls.edu/coelhocenter

About Loyola Law School, Los Angeles 

Located on an award-winning Frank Gehry-designed campus in downtown Los Angeles, Loyola LAw School is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students and cutting-edge programs. The Law School strives to instill in students the knowledge they need to excel on their chosen paths. It dedicates itself to preparing students for the rigors of practice with an extensive portfolio of practical-trianing opportunities, an 18,000-strong alumni network and a focus on social justice. Learn more at www.lls.edu

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MEDIA: Tony Coelho is available for phone-in interviews to discuss President George H. W. Bush's legacy with regard to the ADA. 

 

Nov. 1, 2018: LOYOLA PARTNERS WITH DISTINGUISHED CONGRESSMAN TO LAUNCH THE COELHO CENTER FOR DISABILITY LAW, POLICY & INNOVATION

LOYOLA PARTNERS WITH DISTINGUISHED CONGRESSMAN TO LAUNCH THE COELHO CENTER FOR DISABILITY LAW, POLICY & INNOVATION ONLY ORGANIZATION OF ITS KIND AT CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY IN U.S. & ONLY ONE HOUSED AT TOP LAW SCHOOL

LOS ANGELES – Loyola Law School, Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) will launch The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy & Innovation on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 with a gala event and inaugural symposium announcing the details of its newly commissioned poll tracking the electoral involvement of people with disabilities. Founded by former Democratic congressman, disability rights icon and LMU alumnus Hon. Tony Coelho (LMU ’64), The Coelho Center is the only organization of its kind at a Catholic university in America and the only one housed at a top U.S. law school.

The Coelho Center will pursue a unique three-pronged mission: convening thought leaders to pursue positive change on disability issues; leveraging technology to advance the lives of people with disabilities; and creating a pipeline of lawyers with disabilities to populate the bench and hold elected office. To be housed at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, The Coelho Center also will draw on multiple areas of expertise from each of the other six LMU colleges.

The interdisciplinary Center debuts with nearly $5 million in contributions, including $1 million from the Coelho family. Coelho, the architect of the groundbreaking Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), also has donated his impressive collection of legislative papers and other documents to LMU’s William H. Hannon Library.

The former House Majority Whip (the third-highest position in the U.S. House of Representatives), Coelho has been a key advocate for those with disabilities over his entire adult life. As the driving force behind the ADA, he was later appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Coelho has held leadership positions at the American Association for People with Disabilities, the Epilepsy Foundation and the Partnership to Improve Patient Care.

“I have spent most of my life advocating on behalf of those of us with disabilities. Simply put, it is my ministry,” said Coelho. “I decided to establish The Coelho Center at Loyola Law School at Loyola Marymount University because of their focus on access to justice for all, including those with disabilities. LMU is also my alma mater – the place where I learned I had epilepsy – and they supported and encouraged me at a critical crossroads in my life. The Coelho Center will be a means to convene like-minded advocates. Along with the donation of my papers to the university’s Hannon Library, I hope The Center provides the tools for those who will continue the fight into the future.”

Michael Waterstone, Fritz B. Burns Dean of Loyola Law School and senior vice president of LMU, echoed Coelho’s sentiment. “As a lifelong scholar and advocate on disability law issues, I couldn’t be more proud to house a center with the same dedication on the Loyola Law School campus,” he said. “I am thrilled that Loyola will be a part of the international dialogue on such important issues of fairness in our society.”

The Coelho Center’s inaugural symposium, “Disability Impact: Breaking Through Barriers to Civic Leadership,” will examine disability as a driver of innovation, empowering those with disabilities to engage with their communities. “This symposium rejects the idea of disability as a ‘problem’ inherent in an individual and in need of intervention,” said Katherine Perez, The Coelho Center’s founding director. “When it comes to technological and other advances, our symposium will look at disability as a solution, not a problem.”

The Nov. 5 symposium, to be held at LMU’s Silicon Beach campus and funded in part by The California Endowment, will feature the lunchtime keynote address, “The Disability Community, the Election and the Next Congress.” Delivered by David Mermin, partner, Lake Research Partners, it will outline a poll commissioned by The Coelho Center to study the electoral habits of people with disabilities. Afterward, a series of experts will anchor two panels: “Disabled Makers & Inventors: Agency in the Advancement of Disability Rights in Technology” and “Conquering Stigma: Representations of Disability in Media and Entertainment.”

“The Coelho Center will provide a much-needed multi-disciplinary approach that ensures students and faculty from different fields work collaboratively with disabled community leaders to fight for equality and justice,” said Judith E. Heumann, a symposium panelist who served as special advisor for international disability rights at the U.S. Department of State. “The Coelho Center will provide the knowledge and tools to advance the civil and human rights of disabled people in the U.S. and around the world.”

The Coelho Gala, to be held on LMU’s campus, will include welcome remarks by LMU President Dr. Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. The invitation-only dinner will be emceed by actress Lynda Carter and her husband Robert A. Altman, CEO, ZeniMax Media Inc.

Details about The Coelho Center, including event agendas and how to become involved, are available at www.lls.edu/coelhocenter.

About Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Located on an award-winning Frank Gehry-designed campus in downtown Los Angeles, Loyola Law School is home to prominent faculty, dedicated students and cutting-edge programs. The Law School strives to instill in students the knowledge they need to excel on their chosen paths. It dedicates itself to preparing students for the rigors of practice with an extensive portfolio of practical-training opportunities, an 18,000-strong alumni network and a focus on social justice. Learn more at www.lls.edu.

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