(Co Founder and Co Chair REV UP Virginia)
Helena Berger has been a disability-rights advocate for over 30 years. She is the immediate past President & CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Under Ms. Berger’s leadership, she helped transform AAPD into one of the nation’s leading cross-disability civil rights organizations advocating for the full recognition of rights for the over 60 million Americans with disabilities. Ms. Berger is a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic, and process minded leader with experience scaling an organization, leading an executive team, and developing a performance culture among a diverse group of individuals.
Prior to joining AAPD, Ms. Berger was the Advocacy Director for the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA), renamed in 2005, United Spinal Association. Under her direction, EPVA’s advocacy program significantly expanded its public education and community outreach activities aimed at raising awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Consequently, she has extensive experience in designing and implementing grassroots programs and working effectively with non-governmental organizations, community and business leaders, and public officials and entities to increase the rights, opportunities, and inclusion of disabled individuals.
Ms. Berger’s international disability rights work includes being a feature speaker for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs. She has spoken with government and disability-rights leaders in Mongolia, Nepal, Cyprus, and Japan, and traveled to Vietnam, Jordan, and the West Bank of Israel to help advance disability rights and inclusion.
Ms. Berger currently serves as Chair of the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee’s Board of Directors; Vice Chair of Children of Vietnam’s Board of Directors; and is Co-founder and co-chair of REV UP (Register! Educate! Vote! use your Power!) Virginia.
Rachel Loria (Senior Disability Advocate, dlCV)
Rachel Loria is a Senior Disability Rights Advocate at the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, where she has been working for 9 years. She works particularly on cases involving Vocational Rehabilitation services, Pre Employment Transition Services, and Assistive Technology. Rachel also leads the voting work for the disAbility Law Center of Virginia. She was born and raised in Richmond where she also began her journey as a self advocate. She had the privilege of working with both Virginia Board for People with Disabilities and the Partnership for People with Disabilities in her 15 year career as a self advocate working to help individuals who have disabilities.