As you have read the recent excerption of the National Council on Disability (NCD)’s press release on read.ideafnews.com, posted on Feb. 12, announcing the appointment of Jeff Rosen to the council and was delegated by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to be the Chairperson of this group. iDeafNews did a small interview via e-mail.
Jeff Rosen is a third generation deaf person who was raised in an environment where he received mixed messages. “My deaf family said I was fully of the world and cherished for who I am with no absolutely no limitations on my aspirations. In my family and the deaf community, I experienced pride and joy in a rich tradition of shared identity and culture. On the other hand, society found me deficient. Growing up in a public school and in my neighborhood, along with my first attempts to work, I was consistently told that my difference left me short of the mark. My life has been a struggle to reconcile the conflicting values,” Rosen told iDeafNews.
In the email, Rosen wrote that from an early age, he was determined to be a disability rights attorney to better gain his reality. He turned to reading insightful and empowering articles published in the Deaf American Magazine and through novels written by African-American authors who spoke of oppression and how they overcame negative attitudes and limited opportunities. He wrote, “Their words taught me that the greatest disability is not of the body, but of a closed mind. I also learned about the value a human rights movement, using the power of collective thinking and action to transform people’s minds and hearts about the place people with disabilities have in society. My life was then dedicated to using the law as an advocacy tool for the disability movement.”
Rosen is currently the General Counsel of ZVRS which provides video relay services and Rosen elaborated on how relay services has been a ground-breaking model of how a civil rights law – Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act – has provided incentives for the private sector to competitively and innovatively provide services that accomplish the goals of functional equivalence in telecommunications. Rosen also served as the General Counsel and Director of Policy of the National Council on Disability in 2000-2007. “I helped the Council structure and carry out its policy and research through three principal conceptual frameworks: The Civil Rights Monitoring Project, which evaluated and made recommendations for strengthening the federal implementation and enforcement of several major national disability rights laws;Investing in Independence, which involved several reports focusing on programs and policies supporting the independence of people with disabilities; and Livable Communities, a holistic approach to providing people with an environment to live and work as they choose. I also had the opportunity at NCD to lead its Righting the ADA project, which served as the foundation for the enacted ADA Amendments Act,” Rosen explains in his email to iDeafNews on Feb. 9.
“My work has involved the development of mutually beneficial relationships with a wide range of constituents and stakeholders, including members and staff of Congress and the Administration as well as disability-related organizations. I am an ardent supporter of the National Association of the Deaf and have willingly been a resource to them whenever called upon to assist. I also take pride in having been involved in Gallaudet University’s Deaf President Now movement, which brought great exposure to the interest in self-determination and served as one catalyst for Congress in undertaking its consideration of the ADA,” Rosen said.
Rosen elaborates that his recent focus has been on international disability rights, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). As a representative of the World Federation of the Deaf, Rosen said, “I helped provide language for the CRPD. I am Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of RatifyNow, a grassroots effort to promote the ratification of the CRPD.” Rosen also serves as the Treasurer of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, a disability oriented organization supporting human rights and very active in promoting the ratification of the CRPD by the U.S. Senate.
Rosen expressed his gratefulness for the countless deaf people who advocated for our rights in helping people like me to arrive at this point. “I will keep deaf advocates in my heart and spirit in setting forth in this new journey.” His personal goal, as told to iDeafNews, is to help grow a new generation of deaf advocates who will “push me out of my chair when it’s their time.”
iDeafNews congratulates Mr. Rosen on his appointment and look forward to all of his successes as the Chairperson of the National Council on Disability.
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