NAD Applauds Appointment of Claudia Gordon as Public Engagement Advisor at the White House

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is thrilled to learn of Claudia Gordon’s recent appointment as the Public Engagement Advisor for the Disability Community in the Office of Public Engagement at the White House.

The NAD President, Chris Wagner shares his excitement, “The NAD sees this as a great window of opportunity to have one of our own in the White House. With her amazing background and steadfast dedication to changing policies for the better, we will definitely achieve significant progress.”

She is 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.

Claudia Gordon

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.

The NAD Chief Executive Officer, Howard A. Rosenblum, noted that “Claudia Gordon in 2000-2002 served as a staff attorney at the NAD and contributed to the success of our La

w and Advocacy Center. Ms. Gordon’s position at the NAD was funded through a Skadden Fellowship, which allowed her to advocate for deaf and hard of hearing people across the country. We are proud of Ms. Gordon’s successes and look forward to her work within the White House.”

While advocating at the NAD, Ms. Gordon confronted the truth that passing legislation is one thing but actual implementation with enforcement is another. “I felt that a job with the Federal government would more effectively allow me to affect the actual enforcement of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, thereby alleviating the blatant discrimination that people with disabilities continue to face,” Ms. Gordon stated in an interview with the White House.

After her Skadden Fellowship at the NAD, Ms. Gordon went on to become a senior policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Ms. Gordon’s ensured people with disabilities were attended to when Hurricane Katrina hit which led her to earn 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.

Ms. Gordon most recently served as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Federal Contracts and Compliance Programs in the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and was instrumental in improving regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to improve employment opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people. From there, DOL added 200 new compliance officers since the beginning of the Obama Administration.