Emerging Advocates Group

Welcome to the Think College Emerging Advocates Group. 

In April 2019, a group of college students with disabilities came to Washington, DC to advocate for the Higher Education Act. They advocated with staff from inclusive college programs and others. This was very exciting to see, so this Emerging Advocates group was created for students with disabilities to talk with others so they could continue to share ideas and learn tips together about advocacy. That initial group has grown to include dozens of emerging leaders who get together on quarterly calls, and we welcome new members. 

Click this link to go to a sign-up sheet that you can fill out to join this group.

This group is led by and for people with disabilities. Of course, supporters are welcome.



The next Emerging Advocates meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 23, 2:00pm- 3:30pm ET. Note the time; this meeting is 90 minutes rather than the regular 60 minutes. This will allow time for Ms. Heumann to present and for students to ask questions. This FREE event does require registration: click here.

Don't miss this very special meeting featuring special guest, Judy Heumann. Judy is an international leader in for civil rights for people with disabilities. Majolyn, a student from Hostos Community College, suggested that we invite Judy to a meeting and she accepted! This call will be a time to hear from Judy as well as being able to ask her questions about the disability movement. Students, graduates, and advocates with disabilities are welcome to attend and have a chance to ask Judy a question or just listen. Supporters are also welcome to attend.

A bit more about Judy: 

  • Judy helped develop laws so people with disabilities could attend school and have other civil rights.
  • Judy wrote a book called Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist which was published in 2020.
  • She also is a part of a film called Crip Camp which shares the story of disabled teens at camp in the 1970’s and how they helped sparked the disability civil rights movement. Judy attended this camp and was one of the original organizers of the disability rights movement.


Pisanach “Peach” Chinratanalab was a guest presenter at the June 10, 2021 meeting. Peach is a recent graduated from Next Steps at Vanderbilt University. She joined the group to talk about the advocacy work she doing as a member of Davidson County Chapter of People First and also as the co-chair of The Arc of Tennessee Transportation Committee. Peach shared ideas on how people can advocate for solutions to transportation issues and other challenges.

The Thursday, December 10 meeting had attendees from at least 6 different colleges. Rebecca Lazo asked the group if they would be interested in contributing to an ICI workgroup discussion on how people with disabilities prefer to be to be addressed. Liz asked questions of the group about what good came from the pandemic, and what there is to look forward to. Possible future topics were also discussed.

The September 10, 2020 Emerging Advocates meeting was on the topic of voting. Liz and her colleague, Lauren (also from AUCD) presented on registering to vote, voting safely, learning about the candidates, and more. The recording and PowerPoint presentation can be found here.

March 2020 meeting: Due to COVID-19, the March Emerging Advocates group meeting was canceled. Throughout the months of April and May, Liz hosted weekly meetings on Fridays for youth with disabilities to gather and discuss issues such as voting, advocacy, the effects of COVID-19 on life and learning and work, the Census, and more. If you want any information about these meetings, please contact Liz Weintraub (lweintraub@AUCD.org) or Denise Rozell (drozell@AUCD.org).

Tuesday, December 3, 2019 meeting: You can watch the recording or access the Power Points here. At this meeting, the following topics were discussed:

  • Review of recent elections
  • Discussion of important disability-related topics in upcoming elections
  • How to contact your representatives
  • And, information about Think College Policy Advocates

 Thursday, September 19, 2019 meeting: You can watch the recording or access the Power Points here. At this meeting, the following topics were discussed:

  • What is advocacy and how to advocate for yourself
  • What to advocate for
  • Registering to vote
  • And, homework: invite a friend to the next meeting, register to vote, practice advocating for yourself.

The first meeting of this group was on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. At this meeting, we did the following:

  • Introduced ourselves
  • Talked about our experience at the Disabilty Policy Seminar in Washington, DC
  • Talked about the difference between state and federal, when talking about laws and advocacy

The recording of the meeting can be accessed here