The following was submitted by the Office of Senator Katherine M. Clark:
Lydia Brown of Melrose was honored at the White House this week as a Champion of Change for her disability rights advocacy and embodiment of the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She was nominated for the award by the U.S. National Council on Disability.
Lydia is an Autistic and multiply-disabled disability rights activist, scholar, and writer. A student at Georgetown University and a Project Assistant for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Lydia has written and lectured extensively on issues related to autism, disability rights, policy and justice.
“I congratulate Lydia on this tremendous honor, and I thank her for her advocacy and her vision,” said Senator Katherine Clark. “All children and adults in our community – and our nation – benefit when young people like Lydia take action, speak out, and inspire us to make positive change in the world.”
In 2011 Lydia served on the Adult Services Subcommittee of the Massachusetts Special Commission Relative to Autism. She has drafted legislation, sponsored by Senator Clark and currently before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, focused on autism awareness among law enforcement. The bill would establish a course within the recruit basic training curriculum for Massachusetts law enforcement and correction officers to help them better understand how to interact with autistic people, including those who are victims, witnesses or suspects of a crime.
According to the White House, the Champions of Change program was created to feature Americans who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. You can learn more at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions.