BBI Chairman Peter Blanck to Address Reed Smith’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit

Dr. Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, will present at Reed Smith’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit his recent ground-breaking research regarding the lack of disability diversity in the legal profession. In a recent study commissioned by the ABA to focus on non-visible identities in law, he and his co-authors found that while a quarter of respondents said they had a health condition, impairment, or disability, only a third of those respondents identified as disabled.

Dr. Blanck’s address will honor October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and the 30th Anniversary of the ADA. He will discuss BBI’s newly funded national Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Disability Inclusive Employment Policy (DIEP), and leading efforts at the Southeast ADA Center.

Reed Smith will kick off its Global Diversity Awareness month in October with its annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit. This year’s virtual event will focus on racial justice and intersectionality.
Date/Time: October 1, 2020, 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM EDT
Featuring Feminista Jones, Intersectionality Expert, Author & Award-Winning Blogger, as our keynote presenter.

Speakers: John Iino Alexander Y. Thomas M. Tamara Box Peter M. Ellis

Our opening panel, “How Major Organizations are Leading Change in Racial Equity, features special guest speakers:

  • Sophie Chandauka, Global COO Shared Services and Banking Operations at Morgan Stanley
  • Kamau Coar, General Counsel at Heidrick & Struggles
  • Peter Ellis, Reed Smith Senior Management Team – Chair of Litigation
  • Lauren Leahy, Chief Legal Officer at Pizza Hut
  • Cathy Tang, Chief Legal Officer at Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

We’ll also delve into some of the difficult topics faced by individuals and businesses alike in our breakout sessions, covering issues such as:

  • Disrupting racism: From performative allyship to anti-racism
  • Creating a culture inclusive of mixed-visible and non-visible diversity
  • Leveraging employee resource groups to build power through collaboration
  • Strategies for overcoming impostor syndrome
  • Lasting impacts of the pandemic on persons with disabilities
  • Understanding the intersection of race and class

About BBI

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic and social participation of people with disabilities. Through program development, research and public policy guidance, BBI advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar. BBI has offices in Syracuse; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New York City; and Lexington, Kentucky. Learn more at

Southeast ADA Center to Host Virtual Series in Celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month

In recognition of important milestones this year, the Southeast ADA Center and the Burton Blatt Institute of Syracuse University will host a four-event Virtual Series: Disability Employment–Looking Back & Moving  Forward on each Wednesday in October starting at 1 p.m. [ET].

“Increasing Access and Opportunity” is the October 2020 theme for the annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This year marks the 75th year of NDEAM lead by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). This year 2020 also celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 100th anniversary of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Continue Reading

Burton Blatt Institute Receives $4.3M to Lead National Center on Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities

Today’s unprecedented health, social, and economic challenges raised by the coronavirus pandemic require a retrospective, present-day, and prospective view of U.S. employment policy for individuals with disabilities. Over the next five years, the goal of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on “Disability Inclusive Employment Policy” (DIEP) will be to design and implement a series of studies that produce new data and evidence on policy levers to increase employment rates of persons with disabilities with the objective of informing current and future policy and program development. Continue Reading

BBI Chairman, Peter Blanck’s, new book Disability Law and Policy released for 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Burton Blatt Institute Chairman and University Professor at Syracuse University, Peter Blanck’s new book titled Disability Law and Policy book was released in honor of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Disability Law and Policy provides an overview of the themes and insights in disability law. It is a compelling compendium of stories about how our legal system has responded to the needs of impacted individuals.

Continue Reading

ABA and BBI study finds prevalent reports of discrimination faced by disabled, LGBTQ+ lawyers

Professor Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and lead author of the study, said “the longer-term objective (of the study) is to help measurably enhance the professional lives of lawyers and others in the profession by understanding and mitigating pernicious sources of attitudinal stigma and structural bias.”

Lawyers who either identify as having disabilities or who identify as LGBTQ+ report experiencing both subtle and overt forms of discrimination at their workplaces, with common reports of subtle but unintentional biases. The findings come from a new national study released today by the American Bar Association, in collaboration with the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. Continue Reading

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck to Keynote NYU Law Students Symposium on 30 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

New York, NY: On Friday, September 25, at 4 p.m. the Disability Allied Law Students Association (DALSA) at the New York University School of Law will virtually host Dr. Peter Blanck to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dr. Blanck’s address will reflect on the current state of disability law in the U.S., with a particular focus on COVID-19, and intersections with criminal justice, poverty, and race. Continue Reading

The Southeast ADA Center Broadcast the “ADA Live!” Episode 83b: Celebrate. Learn. Share. The ADA turns 30. The Future of Disability Rights with Lex Frieden

What better way to celebrate the 30th ADA anniversary than with the “chief architect” of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lex Frieden.  Mr. Frieden is a well-known disability rights activist and a leader in the independent living movement.  He is a professor of biomedical informatics and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He also directs the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, home of the Southwest ADA Center, one of ten regional ADA centers in the ADA National Network.  From 2002 until 2006, he served by appointment of President George W. Bush as Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD). Continue Reading

Thirty for Thirtieth ADA Anniversary

As we near the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Stephen Kuusisto, Director of the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach located in the Burton Blatt Institute, is posting thirty short essays about the law, the anniversary, and the cultural impact of #ADA@30. According to Stephen, “I’m doing this as a disabled person who’s lived half his life before the ADA. I’m reflecting on the ‘before and after’ of the law.” Continue Reading

BBI to co-host national symposium of leading law schools titled “Call to Action: Creating a Disability-Inclusive Law School Environment”

Our purpose is to convene the top law schools in the nation working on disability inclusiveness, accessibility, and campus climate to share ideas and resources, identify existing challenges and barriers, and ultimately form a taskforce that works toward a more disability inclusive future in legal education. We seek to deepen our conversations on the intersection of disability and race with particular attention to (1) how ableism and racism function together; (2) racial disparities in COVID-19 that impact our students of color; (3) race-based trauma; and, (4) the need to combat anti-blackness in disability advocacy. Continue Reading