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Claudia Gordon Chosen for White House Disability Liaison Leadership

National Council on Disability Applauds White House Office of Public Engagement Appointment (July 16, 2013)

'Claudia Gordon, no stranger to pioneering new ground, was a consultant to the National Council on Disability in 2003 during the preparation of a report examining the literature surrounding “Outreach and People with Disabilities from Diverse Cultures.” 

Born in Jamaica, Gordon was the first deaf African American woman to become an attorney as well as the first deaf student to graduate from the American University (AU) Washington College of Law, in Washington, DC, in 2000. The discrimination Gordon experienced as a deaf child in Jamaica compelled her to become a lawyer. At age eight, she moved to the United States and attended the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York where she learned sign language.

Prior to attending AU, Gordon graduated from Howard University in 1995 with a bachelor of arts in political science. At Howard, Gordon was a Patricia Robert Harris Public Affairs Fellow, a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, and the Political Science Honor Society. More awards and honors came at American University, where she was an Equal Justice Foundation Fellow, had the Myers Law Scholarship, and the J. Franklin Bourne Scholarship. In 2002, she received the Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.

A Skadden Fellowship for law graduates working with people with disabilities paid for Gordon’s work at the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center allowing her to provide “direct representation and advocacy for poor deaf persons with a particular emphasis on outreach to those who are members of minority groups."

Gordon later became a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties where her duties included enforcing an executive order for individuals with disabilities in emergency preparedness. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Gordon's efforts to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities were met in hurricane relief efforts earned her both the Gold Medal Award and the 2005 Hurricane Response Award from the Secretary of Homeland Security. She is a member of the Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.