WASHINGTON -- The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advices the President, Congress and other federal agencies on disability policy, welcomes Claudia Gordon, Esq, as the White House’s new Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community in the Office of Public Engagement.
Prior to her appointment in the Executive Branch, Gordon was instrumental in strengthening regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities at the United States Department of Labor (DOL), where she served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Federal Contracts and Compliance Programs. During Gordon’s tenure, DOL shifted its enforcement activities to hold government contractors accountable for their employment practices and has added 200 new compliance officers since the beginning of the Obama Administration.
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.
“NCD is thrilled by the news of Claudia’s appointment as Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community for the White House,” said Jeff Rosen, NCD Chairperson. “Her vast experience and the relationships she brings to the table bolsters the President and his Administration’s continued and ongoing commitment to issues important to the disability community – whether they are global, like the UN Convention, national as in regulation enforcement or personal, as in the issues that touch our lives on a daily basis such as employment, education and immigration. We look forward to working closely with her.”