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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Disability Community Celebrates 57th Presidential Inauguration in Style

Kelly Buckland and Judy Heumann pose at the 2013 Inaugural BallOn Saturday, January 19, 2013, many members of the disability community celebrated President Obama’s Inauguration at the 2nd Disability Power and Pride Inaugural Ball. The event was held on the 13th floor of the National Press Club and featured food, drinks, and dancing to the music of the band Jukeboxx.

The event also featured a brief program with Master of Ceremonies Tony Coelho, who outlined the history of DPP and told the crowd that an Inaugural Ball for the disability community will be held every four years from now on. He also introduced Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, and announced his departure from that position as of this Friday, January 25, 2013. Dale brought a message from President Obama, who committed to continue policy work on disability issues in his second term. The crowd wished Dale well in his future endeavors.

Newly elected Representative Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke to the crowd. She thanked the community for its support, from the moment she woke up from her military accident to her decision to run for and win her Congressional seat. She said that she looks forward to working with us and partnering on legislation on several of our issues. 

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) stopped by to greet and talk with Ball attendees. Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez of the US Department of Labor was also in attendance.  Judy Huemann, NCIL co-founder and Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, joined other leaders of the Independent Living Movement at this historic event.

Tammy Duckworth and friends at the 2013 Inaugural BallThe work of DPP proves to the country that the disability community can wield political power.

Disability Power & Pride works to unify the disability community so that we can better advance our agenda in the political and social spheres. Our priorities include promoting disability leadership in the federal government and hosting cross-community events. In the words of founding Board Chair Tony Coelho, “our Power propels us forward as our Pride connects us in community.

NCIL is proud to have sponsored this event and the policy staff was in full attendance. To read more about DPP, go to  Follow the event on Twitter at #DPP2013. For more information about this event, contact Dara Baldwin, NCIL Policy Analyst, at

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