Black History Month Spotlight

These Amazing People Are
Making History Today and
Getting Things Done For
The Disability Community!

Claudia L. Gordan
Claudia Gordan was the first deaf African American female attorney in the United States. She is currently the Vice President of National Black Deaf Advocates, and she works in the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. National Black Deaf Advocates provides scholarships, fights for civil rights and access, and runs the Miss Black Deaf America Pageant. Find out more about the organization here.

Ola Ojewumi
Ola Ojewumi has had two organ
transplants and has founded two nonprofits, the Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation and Project ASCEND. She sells fashionable disability pride clothes in her Truth Boutique, where she also posts amazing videos like this one. Ola is a professional public speaker, and she frequently appears on Democracy Now to fight for the rights of people with disabilities, people of color, and women. Find out more about Project Ascend here, and find out more about the Sacred Hearts Children's Transplant Foundation here.

Crystal R. Emery
Crystal Emery is a writer, producer, and filmmaker whose works include the books "Against All Odds: Black Women in Medicine" and "Master Builders of the Modern World: Reimagining the Face of STEM." She has been named one of Good Housekeeping's "50 Over 50: Women Who Are Changing the World," and she is the founder of the nonprofit organization URU: The Right To be, which produces content that addresses social issues. As a black woman with quadriplegia, she is interested in making sure that diverse stories are told. Learn more about her and her organization here.

Haben Girma
Haben Girma was the first deafblind person to ever graduate from Harvard Law School, and she is currently a human rights lawyer for disability justice. She advocates for inclusion in education and entertainment. She frequently speaks about the value of representing people with disabilities as fully realized human beings rather than one-dimensional characters. She also discourages the thinking that successful people with disabilities "overcame" their disabilities, stressing that the barriers she has had to overcome have not existed inside of her body, but in the world around her where access is still limited in so many places. With proper access, people who have disabilities do not have to "overcome" anything. Learn more about her here.

Maryland Legislation Spotlight

Together, we can make a difference! At The Harford Center, we closely follow legislation that affects our community.

We're keeping an eye on several bills this legislative session. Please contact your elected officials to voice your support for or opposition to these bills (as well as any other bills that matter to you). While in-person appointments are limited this session due to COVID restrictions, elected officials are still taking calls, emails, and zoom appointments over the next few weeks. Peruse the bills we're following below, and find a link to the contact information for your elected officials at the end of this article. Thank you for your support.

House Bill 0247 aims to improve the experience of voters with disabilities by requiring election judges to give priority in line to voters with mobility challenges.
House Bill 0511 would allow individuals with permanent physical disabilities to take a $1,000 personal exemption on their taxes.
Senate Bill 0327 adds "disabled adults" to the definition of vulnerable adults and allows people to sue for financial damages to vulnerable adults by those who exploit them financially using tactics of abuse, manipulation, intimidation, isolation, or neglect.
Senate Bill 0441 would increase DDA funding to most individuals who choose to self direct their services.
Senate Bill 0610 aims to extend the deadline by which hotels have to provide a certain number of beds that are accessible (determined by height). The passage of this bill would not change the requirement, but would extend the deadline for compliance due to significant revenue loss in the hospitality industry since the COVID pandemic began.
House Bill 0660 aims to increase funding and capacity for organizations that train and provide support animals to veterans with disabilities.
Senate Bill 0300 would require that Individualized Education Plans have a "continuity component" to be implemented in emergency situations. This is designed to correct some of the unanticipated issues that have been occurring throughout the pandemic. In that same spirit, Senate Bill 0209 would require that students with disabilities be given the option of a continuation of services beyond their original anticipated graduation date if schools are closed for an extended period of time.
Senate Bill 0098 prohibits pre-kindergarten programs that receive state funding from discriminating against protected classes, one of which is disability.
House Bill 0237 would require the Department of Education to establish an advisory group to develop a handbook for best practices in early literacy and dyslexia.

DD DAY Update

Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature happened virtually this year on February 9. In addition to the bills above, the Disability Council and other advocates expressed support for the following bills:

House Bill 321 requires certain public buildings to have changing facilities in their restrooms for adults as well as children, and that a list of buildings that have those facilities be available online to assist the community in planning outings.

Senate Bill 496 is an emergency COVID relief bill that would provide $5 million in grants to DDA providers. The same bill provides assistance to businesses and low-income individuals.

Please click here to find your elected officials. Search by your zip code and click on names to see full contact information. Tell them what you think!

Remember: Every single bill is available for the public to read at this website. You can search by topic and bill number and you can switch states or search nationwide. Keeping up with legislation is a great way to see for yourself what our elected officials are doing!
The Verdict Is...

Reminder: Our 1st Annual Golf Tournament will be on May 10th!

Sponsorships are
available on the website.

Please email Dinah at if you would like to be notified when tickets to play go on sale or if you would like to donate a raffle item.
Reminder: You're Invited!
Harford Center's Family Resource Meeting
Who: Participants and Family Members

What: Resource Meeting

Where: Zoom

When: 2/26/21 from 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Why: Talk to Harford Center management about programs,
policies, COVID, and any other concerns!