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Disability Rights, Legal Protections, and the South Asian Community

  • Monday, July 30, 2018
  • 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP


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Disability Rights, Legal Protections, and the South Asian Community

Please join SABA-DC and a distinguished panel of speakers to discuss disability rights in a variety of contexts. The panelists will provide a basic understanding of disability related legal protections as well as best practices that organizations should consider to both follow the law and also, as importantly, to become more inclusive and true to our respective missions.  We will have a substantive discussion on some of the various  protections provided by the law, how to better ensure these protections are enforced, and consider the particular impact on South Asian and other communities. This July marks the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA Amendments Act of 2008, effective January 1, 2009, amended the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other disability nondiscrimination laws at the Federal  level and was a response to a number of decisions by the Supreme Court that had narrowly interpreted the protections of the ADA.

July 30, 2018
6-8 pm

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
801 17th Street, NW Washington, DC 20006

Please RSVP!


Leslie Dara Baldwin, MPA was born in Torrejon, Spain to parents involved in serving their country, the desire to serve has continued through her education and current career journey.  She started her first career while attending college and worked in Healthcare Administration in various operational and finance executive positions, for almost twenty years. In 2004 she changed her career to advocacy in the social justice/equity realm of work. Currently Ms. Baldwin is the Senior Public Policy Analyst for the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in Washington, DC. NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

Currently Ms. Baldwin is the Senior Public Policy Analyst for the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) in Washington, DC. NDRN is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP). Collectively, the P&A/CAP network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.

In her position Ms. Baldwin is responsible for the legislative work, from research and writing comments, testimonies, letters and reports to assisting with advocacy outreach and working with Congressional staff, the Administration, coalition partners and others on multiple issue areas for improving the lives of persons with disabilities.  She has extensive knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), The Access Carrier Act of 1986, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other disability laws. She is an expert analyst of pertinent legislative proposals and enactments. She has a keen ability for networking and outreach to grassroots national and international advocates. She has organized and facilitated several national meetings with the White House, Congress and civil and human rights organizations covering issues of importance and providing recommendations for immediate actions. 

Ms. Baldwin was an ADA Compliance Specialist in the DC Government. She was a policy analyst at The National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) the longest running national cross-disability membership organization that advances independent living and the rights of people with disabilities through consumer–driven advocacy. She engaged members by their involvement in advocacy work to make a change. She was responsible for the diversity and cultural competency outreach as well as working on coalitions to assist with better legislative outcomes for the community. 

She has led multiple national and international advocacy campaigns. She assisted with writing the disability provisions and was a leader in the advocacy campaign to get the Violence Against Women Act 2013 passed in February 2013. She is highly skilled in social media outreach and advocacy. Ms. Baldwin worked on 12 bills that passed in Congress and signed by President Barak Obama during his term in office, as well as budget bills. She works on fiscal year funding for Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD), Criminal Justice and other appropriations and budgets. 

Prior to this work Ms. Baldwin worked as a Child Advocate in NJ, Sr. Policy Analyst on multiple criminal justice issues such as the Second Chance Act and as an Advocacy Manager at TASH. She has written numerous articles, served on advisory committees, facilitated focus groups, presented at many programs, appeared on Local news as a disability expert and conducts technical assistance training in multiple areas. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and served as a Trustee for the American Society for Public Administration’s Board of Insurance Trustee (BIT) for two terms. 

L. Dara Baldwin has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Rutgers University, Newark, NJ and was a Pi Alpha Alpha honors Graduate with a Masters of Public Administration from Rutgers University the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Newark, NJ.  She received a 2009 and 2010 Presidential Citation Award for her work in the American Society for Public Administration. She serves as an Associate Member of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Standing Panel on Social Equity. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, NJ.  Ms. Baldwin believes that it is her duty to move forward with her career goals and at the same time, create a pathway for others.

Sunu P. Chandy is the Legal Director of the National Women’s Law Center. She oversees the Center’s litigation efforts, providing strategy across the NWLC to create better outcomes for women and girls at school, the workplace, and the healthcare sector.  She also helped to create the Center's Legal Network for Gender Equity and build the policies and procedures guiding the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund. She also provides guidance for the Center's policy positions towards greater workplace equality. She is also leading some of the work to consider best practices around language access and disability justice across the Center’s programs.  Most recently, Sunu served as the Deputy Director for the Civil Rights Division with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she led civil rights enforcement including in the areas of language access, auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities and sex discrimination cases under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Before that, Sunu was the General Counsel of the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) and in that role oversaw the agency’s legal decisions following civil rights investigations of discrimination in employment, education, housing and public accommodation matters.  Previously, Sunu was a federal attorney with the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for 15 years and litigated cases including based on sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination, as well as race, national origin, disability, age and religion based discrimination cases.  At EEOC, Sunu led several outreach and training initiatives including as a member of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAPPI) Regional Working Group.  Sunu began her legal career as a law firm associate representing unions and individual workers in New York City at Gladstein, Reif and Megginniss, LLP.  Sunu earned her B.A. in Peace and Global Studies/Women’s Studies from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston and in 2013, she completed her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from CUNY/Queens College.  Sunu has served on the boards of directors of several organizations including the Audre Lorde Project, the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective and LeGal (the LGBTQ attorneys’ organization in New York). Sunu currently serves on the board of directors for Split This Rock, a national social justice poetry organization.   

Deepa Goraya is Associate Counsel at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and enforces the rights of people with disabilities in places of public accommodation, transportation, employment, education, and other areas. She has focused in particular on improving the accessibility of web sites, mobile applications, touch screen kiosks, and other digital technology for the blind. Ms. Goraya, who is completely blind, routinely represents individuals with disabilities and disability rights organizations in federal and state court.

Ms. Goraya joined the Washington Lawyers' Committee in July 2014, and since that time has been involved with numerous cases challenging violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and state and local laws that protect people with disabilities.  Her recent work includes: an action challenging Kohl’s nationwide practice of having narrow isles that are not accessible to people with disabilities; an action challenging Sweetgreen’s online ordering system that is inaccessible to blind customers; an action challenging Barbri’s failure to make its bar review materials accessible to blind students; an action challenging ADA violations at a Central Park restaurant owned by New York City; an action challenging Baltimore County’s discriminatory constructive discharge against a 30 year employee with a disability before her retirement date; and an action against taxicab companies in Washington, DC that refused to pick up customers who had service animals. 

Ms. Goraya graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2012.  During law school, Ms. Goraya was an extern for the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, where she worked to resolve complaints of accessibility, equal access, and employment discrimination for persons with disabilities. She also interned for Eve Hill at the Burton Blatt Institute's D.C. office, at the White House for the Special Assistant to the President on Disability Policy, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for Commissioner Chai Feldblum, and with Disability Rights International.

Ms. Goraya was a 2012-2013 ABA Young Lawyers Division Minorities in the Profession Scholar and started the Young Lawyers Division’s first ever Disability Rights Committee. She servs as a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, and is a Board Member of both the Disability Rights Bar Association and National Association of Blind Lawyers. She is an active leader and member of the National Federation of the Blind, a civil rights advocacy organization lead by, and consisting of, blind individuals from around the country. As a law student at the University of Michigan, Ms. Goraya served as Membership Coordinator and then as Co-Vice President of the National Association of Law Students with Disabilities. 


Our goal is to address the needs and concerns of the South Asian American legal community in Washington, D.C. while providing our members with the knowledge and support necessary to reach their personal and professional goals.

You can find us here:

South Asian Bar Association of Washington, D.C.

P.O. Box 65349
Washington, D.C. 20035

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