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Announcing the 2016 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award Recipients

by | Feb 12, 2016 | Press Release

Through the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recognizes outstanding emerging leaders with disabilities who exemplify leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the broader cross-disability community. Two individuals each receive $2,500 in recognition of their outstanding contributions and $7,500 to further a new or existing initiative that increases the political and economic power of people with disabilities.

AAPD is proud to announce Robyn Powell and Alice Wong as the recipients of the 2016 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards.


Robyn Powell
Team Leader, Disabled Parent Project (DPP)

The Disabled Parenting Project (DPP) is on a mission to leverage technology in order to create opportunities for parents and prospective parents with disabilities to connect and interact, while serving as an information clearinghouse for relevant information about adaptive parenting. The DPP seeks to inform social policy through the development of resources, created by and for the disabled parenting community, as well as to promote social justice for disabled families. In addition, the DPP includes video interviews where parents are invited to tell their stories in their own voices or upload videos and digital photos demonstrating adaptive techniques for childrearing. The DPP also offers a place for parents to buy, sell, and trade their adaptive parenting equipment.

In addition to her leadership on the Disabled Parenting Project, Robyn Powell is Principal of Robyn Powell Consulting, LLC, a disability law and policy consulting firm. As a disabled woman, Ms. Powell has dedicated her career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Most recently, Ms. Powell served as an Attorney Advisor at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on matters concerning people with disabilities. Previously, she served as the Disability Rights Program Manager at the Equal Rights Center, Assistant Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Disability Policy Consortium, Staff Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services and interned for the Massachusetts Protection & Advocacy agency.

Alice Wong
Founder and Project Coordinator, Disability Visibility Project

In 2014, Alice Wong launched the Disability Visibility Project (DVP), an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture. In partnership with StoryCorps, a national oral history non-profit dedicated to recording the stories of all Americans, the DVP allows people to tell their stories on their own terms while having them archived for posterity. Social media is utilized to amplify these stories and build community. The DVP aims to collect the diverse voices of people in the disability community and preserve their history for all, especially underrepresented groups such as people of color, immigrants, veterans, and LGBTQIA people with disabilities. To date, the DVP has recorded over 100 oral histories and has had stories featured in NPR’s Morning Edition and in local public radio stations WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago and KALW 91.7 FM San Francisco. To further build community, the DVP hosts Twitter chats on salient issues such as emergency preparedness, employment for youth with disabilities, pop culture, and storytelling.

Outside of the Disability Visibility Project, Ms. Wong is a Staff Research Associate and part of the research team for the Community Living Policy Center (CLPC), a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, and the Administration for Community Living.


AAPD founder Paul G. Hearne was a passionate advocate for increased employment of people with disabilities. Paul opened doors for thousands through his leadership of Just One Break, an employment agency for people with disabilities in New York City, and The Dole Foundation for Employment of People with Disabilities in Washington, DC.

“As a result of Paul’s vision, AAPD is a convener, connector, and catalyst, increasing the economic and political power of people with disabilities and cultivating the next generation of leaders,” said Helena Berger, AAPD’s President and CEO. “The 2016 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award recipients exemplify his legacy.”

The recipients of the 2016 AAPD Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards will be honored at the AAPD Leadership Awards Gala in Washington, DC on March 23, 2016. You can learn more about this year’s award recipients on the AAPD website. Please join us in congratulating Robyn and Alice on their extraordinary accomplishments.


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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst, increasing the economic and political power of people with disabilities.