Champions of change: Vermont’s disability rights activists

Vermont resident Max Barrows was recently at the White House to receive a “Champions for Change” award for his work to “uphold and expand the spirit of the Americans With Disabilities.” Barrows, 29, has autism and works for Green Mountain Self-Advocates (GMSA) as the Outreach Director. GMSA is a statewide self-advocacy organization in Vermont that is run and operated by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. GMSA has more than 600 members involved in 21 local self-advocacy groups. We talk with Barrows and two other GMSA members with developmental disabilities about their work, challenges and hopes.

Max Barrows, Outreach Director, Green Mountain Self-Advocates (GMSA). Barrows, a person with autism, received a Champions of Change award from the White House.

Nicole LeBlanc Advocacy Director, Green Mountain Self-Advocates. LeBlanc, a person with autism, completed a 10-week internship at the Washington Center in Washington, D.C., and earned a certificate of professional studies from the University of Vermont.

Stirling Peebles, Advocacy Educator, Green Mountain Self-Advocates. Peebles, a person with Down syndrome, has produced videos about the life histories of several leaders of the self-advocacy movement in Vermont. She has attended the “Think College” program at UVM and done internships at WCAX-Channel 3 News and ORCA Media.

2 Comments

  1. Giovanna peebles

    David, thank you so very much for hosting this wonderful, powerful, show. I truly believe that giving people with disabilities a voice and the opportunities they deserve in life is one of the big civil rights fights that has not yet played out. It’s really just beginning. There are so many related stories – – and what these three said is just the top of the iceberg! You should Friend Stirling on Facebook to see what she’s working on and the powerful influence she is having across the country. Thanks again! all best, giovanna

    • David

      Thanks Gio — Stirling is a star!

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