National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities
We imagine a society in which the human rights of Latinxs with disabilities are upheld and all their intersecting identities are embraced.
We work in solidarity to affirm, celebrate, and collectively uplift Latinxs with disabilities through community building, advocacy, protection of rights, resources, and education.
Coalición Nacional para Latinxs con Discapacidades
Imaginamos una sociedad en la que
se respeten los derechos humanos de Latinxs con Discapacidades y se aceptan todas sus identidades cruzadas.
Trabajamos en solidaridad para afirmar, celebrar, y elevar colectivamente a los Latinxs con discapacidades a través de la construcción de comunidad, la promoción, la protección de los derechos, los recursos y la educación.
History of CNLD
2016 Conference “Building a National Network: Empowering Latinos with Disabilities"
In December 2015, after receiving the University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) Diversity Fellowship, Katherine Perez sought out Michelle Garcia from Access Living (an independent living center) in Chicago to talk about a potential collaboration. Katherine introduced herself by stating that her professional goal was to unite the Disability and Latinx communities because both communities share important constituencies, but often do not intersect in advocacy efforts.
Michelle Garcia, a community organizer and founder of Cambiando Vidas in Chicago, expressed the same professional goal, stating that she had an idea to form a network, or coalition, of individuals and organizations across the country who work with and for Latinxs with Disabilities, so that they might be able to share resources and collaborate. Michelle invited Katherine to help her (and several other volunteers) to organize a conference that would invite Latinxs with Disabilities from across the nation to talk about building a such network.
The conference, titled “Building a National Network: Empowering Latinos with Disabilities,” was a success, convening about eighty people from all across the country, including Puerto Rico. The idea of having a coalition at the conference was proposed, and attendees completed an exercise through which they generated ideas about how and why they should come together as a community. The response was positive!
Summer 2016 -- Inviting Coalition Founding Members
Katherine Perez, Michelle Garcia, and Yessica Guardiola Marrero (one of the attendees of the conference) had two conference call meetings following the conference to discuss starting the coalition. After sending invites through their networks, they secured a group of approximately 20 individuals who were interested in being co-founders of the coalition. These individuals included: Richard Allegra, Alexis Alvarez, Michelle Garcia, Yessica Guardiola, Wendy Harbour, Jessica Jimenez, Carla Lewis-Irizarry, Liz Mahar, Jose Manuel, Jorge Matos, Mary Morder, Brenda Liz Munoz, Katherine Perez, Teresita Ramos, Josue Rodriquez, Kristen Salkas, John Silvi, Washieka Torres, Reveca Torres, Lisette Torres-Gerald, Sandra Venegas, and Leonor Vanik.
The group voted on and decided that the name of the organization would be "The National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities" and voted on our logo which is read "CNLD" in white lettering, "Nada Sobre Nosotrxs sin Nosotrxs" underneath in white lettering, and a red circle on top of the C with stick figures joining arms around the circle in what together appears to be a star. All of this is against a black background. The group decided that while our name would be in English and Spanish, we would use our Spanish acronym since the acronym NCLD was already taken by another disability organization.
By September 2016, this group of individuals formed a solid draft of our Mission and Vision statement and organized committees including event planning, outreach, fundraising, advocacy, policy/legal and resources. Each of these committees had a committee coordinator who coordinated meetings and reported back to the group at a general bi-monthly meeting.
Together the group came up with the vision: “The National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD) envisions a world in which the human rights of Latinxs with disabilities are upheld and their intersectional identities embraced.” Our Mission, which is also tentative, is “to advocate, provide resources, and build community for Latinxs with disabilities.” The group also drafted several goals including “(1) building a national community of Latinxs with disabilities and their service providers and advocates, (2) protecting the rights of Latinxs with disabilities, and (3) providing educational and legal resources on issues important to our community.” Within those goals, our objectives included reaching out and engaging with organizations and individuals, lobbying local and federal government, and providing resources on our website and social media pages.