A Conversation with Emily Ladau

We’re thrilled to introduce you to the newest member of DRA’s Board of Directors: Emily Ladau. Emily is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, storyteller, and digital communications consultant. She is the author of Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally.

Portrait of Emily Ladau

How did you first learn about DRA?

I’ve long known of DRA’s vital work, but officially connected with them as they began to seek out media ambassadors for the 2023 Gala. This connection continued to grow as we found ways to collaborate and amplify DRA’s work, particularly through a monthly column that Rebecca Williford, DRA’s President and CEO, writes for Able News, where I serve as Editor.

Why did you decide to join DRA’s board of directors?

I’m passionate about taking action to shift toward a world that recognizes the humanity of disabled people without question. DRA is playing such a meaningful role in making this happen.

Why do you think DRA’s work is urgent and important?

It seems that disability rights—and more broadly, civil and human rights—are being rolled further back every single week. DRA’s work is giving disabled people, especially those who hold multiple marginalized identities, a fighting chance to survive and thrive in an increasingly tumultuous time.

What aspect of DRA’s work are you most proud of?

While I wish there were ways beyond taking legal action to truly enforce disability rights laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, I know that high-impact litigation is the most powerful tool that the disability community has. DRA’s expertise in navigating complex legal issues and fighting for disability rights is continually changing the game. I’m incredibly proud of all they’ve achieved—from transportation access, to voting rights, to education accommodations, and beyond.

Anything else you want to share?

All of my activism is driven by my belief that it is by sharing our stories and making the disability experience accessible to the world that we will reach a world that is accessible to the disability community. I’m excited to bring my passion for educating and advocating about disability to the DRA board of directors.