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Plain Language Version: DEI Virtual Conference Call for Presentations

Plain Language Version: Call for Presentations (CFP)
Deadline Extended Through Friday, February 4, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST
Submit Your Proposal at ahrc.org/deicfp

AHRC Nassau and The Arc of the United States are proud to host a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Virtual Conference: “Beyond the Comfort Zone: Understanding and Eradicating Injustice, Racism and Inequality in the Field of Developmental Disabilities.”

The Conference will take place Wednesday, May 18, 2022.

Attendees will learn about the history, challenges, and opportunities impacting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their supporters. Topics include wage parity, career ladders for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), neurodiversity in the workplace, access and barriers in health care, and decreasing government funding. The conference will connect attendees with the latest thinking, research, and each other.

We are seeking proposals for:

  • Track Sessions: 50-minute presentations with 10 minutes for Q&A.
  • Panel Discussions: 50-minute discussions with a moderator and panelists (at least three) with 10 minutes for Q&A.

We invite proposals from:

  • Self-advocates
  • Thought leaders
  • Business and corporate employers
  • Community leaders
  • Researchers
  • Educators
  • Government officials
  • Providers
  • Policy advocates

Proposal Deadline:
Proposals are due no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, February 4, 2022. Submit proposals online at ahrc.org/deicfp. Organizers will share decisions via email.

For over 70 years, organizations providing services to people with I/DD and their families have fought for human rights. With every victory, we realize there is much more to do.

COVID-19 and racial unrest came to the forefront after the murder of George Floyd in 2020.  These events created a moment within disability organizations to recognize the impact culture and race play in the lives of people with I/DD.  As we fight for human and civil rights, now is the time to ask:

  • Are we prepared to join in the national conversation on social injustice, racism, and systemic inequalities?
  • Are we ready to further the conversation on how these issues show up in our communities?

Now is the time for everyone to take part in the conversation on intersectionality of disability, race, gender, ableism, employment, health care, equality, and social justice.  This is a conversation that involves:

  • People with I/DD
  • Direct Support Professionals (DSPs)
  • Organizations and their staff
  • Local, state, and federal governments
  • Larger communities in which they live

We invite proposals that discuss social constructs that reinforce barriers to equity and inclusion. Proposals should identify solutions to combat racism.

Contribute your knowledge to a national conference, creating conversations and shaping a more neurodiverse and accessible future for all.


Join us to deepen the conversation on racism, inequality, and injustice. We’ll explore how they intersect within the field of I/DD.  Some questions we’ll consider include:

  • Do people with I/DD from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have different experiences accessing services? Participating in the community?
  • How have organizations evolved to meet the needs of a diverse I/DD population and the professionals who support them?
  • How do we effectively reach out and engage with diverse communities?
  • How do we address the intersectionality of disability with other dimensions of diversity (e.g., race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity)?
  • How do we ensure the conversation on disability, race, inequities, bias, and inclusion is ongoing, relevant, and impactful?
  • How do we remove inequities, barriers, and bias from the programs and services we provide?
  • How do we successfully recruit and retain a diverse workforce capable of servicing a diverse I/DD community?
  • How do we create sustainable, diverse employment opportunities for a neuro-diverse workforce?
  • How do we ensure diversity at the highest levels of organizations?
  • How can organizations continue to effectively address the issues facing people with I/DD and their families in diverse communities?

Content should demonstrate innovative and promising practices and reflect community-based inclusion practices.  We welcome proposals that address the following themes:

Theme 1:  Race/Racism/Anti-Racism
Increasing understanding of the impact and trauma of racism and oppression, the role of social justice on the lives of people with I/DD, diverse communities that we support or want to support, and society in general.

Potential Topic Areas Include: Implicit Bias, Microaggressions, Intersectionality, Multiple Cultural Identities, Cultural Competence, Linguistic Competence, Historical Impact of Racism and Public Policy, Advancing Justice/Equality, Employment

Theme 2:  Disparities/Barriers in Society
Examining race and racism through the structures that create separate and unequal systems in the intersection of race and I/DD and for those who support them. Sharing effective strategies for engaging the I/DD community and the public in holding local, state, and federal governments accountable for creating equity, inclusion, and justice.

Potential Topic Areas Include: Social Determinants of Health (e.g., Housing, Food Access, Mental Health Services and Supports), Political Disenfranchisement, Technology, Wages, Education, Criminal Justice, Employment, Accessibility, Self Determination, Home- and Community-based Services, Neurodiversity, the Workplace

Theme 3:  Organizational Diversity – Systems/People/Culture/Intersectionality
Working within or with the business community to create structures and systems that maximize the recruitment, retention, and development of a more diverse workforce and better supports people with I/DD.

Potential Topic Areas Include: Cultural Competencies, Recruitment and Retention, Professional Development, Benefits, Fundraising, Ethics, Reward and Recognition, Performance Management, Employee Engagement, Leadership Effectiveness, Coaching and Mentoring, Gender, Race, Socio-economic Status, Neurodiversity, LGBTQQIA Community, Breaking the Glass Ceiling, Board Development

Theme 4:  Best Practices
Sharing effective strategies for moving a progressive agenda forward that supports leadership within the I/DD community, including families, self-advocates, ombudsmen, government, disability advocates and policy makers.  Highlighting innovative concepts and a re-imagining of public/private partnerships that create lasting and sustained change for people with I/DD and the staff who support them.

Potential Topic Areas Include: Education; Employment; Health, Wellness, Recreation and Related Issues; Housing; Community Integration; Access to Justice; Technology; Behavior Supports and Mental Health; Transportation; Transition, Future Planning, and Autonomy; Decision-making Supports and Guardianship; and Career Paths for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

Presenter(s) should:

  • Have strong knowledge or experience relevant to their topic
  • Demonstrate an effective, interactive mode of presentation
  • Be comfortable engaging with diverse audiences
  • Be knowledgeable about a topic of importance to the disability community
  • Present in an interactive style which allows attendees to contribute their perspectives
  • Offer concrete and replicable examples
  • Incorporate the event theme into the session
  • Be an active participant in our event, making lasting connections that can serve the disability community across the country

We encourage the inclusion of people with I/DD in shared presentations and panel discussions.

Please fill out the CFP form, here to have your breakout session considered.  This form will request:

  • Point of Contact (email address, phone number, institutional affiliation, social media handles)
  • Speaker bio(s) (minimum 100 words)
  • Speaker headshot(s) (400 x 400 pixels, i.e., the size of LinkedIn profile picture)
  • Session summary (maximum 300 words)
  • Three key learning objectives
  • Optional: Presentation Outline or PowerPoint Slides (maximum 10 MB). If chosen, all content will be migrated to the conference template by the presenter and re-submitted by Thursday, May 5, 2022.
    • All presentation materials will be made available to conference participants on the AHRC DEI Conference website at ahrc.org/deiconference for one year following the conference.

Please note: Sessions should not be commercial. Proposals may only be submitted once. Please adhere to AHRC Nassau’s Language & Style Guidelines and Usage Agreements, as well as The Arc’s Position Statements. Presenters will not receive honorariums.

Please contact Barry Donowitz at bdonowitz@ahrc.org or 516.626.1075, ext. 1070.


Download the event sponsor kit.  For opportunities, please contact Nicole Zerillo at nzerillo@ahrc.org or 516.626.1075, ext. 1134.

Thank you to:

Champion Sponsors:

Northwell Health
NYSID Purchasing That Powers Employment

Advocate Sponsors:

Ally Supporter: