On Thursday, July 25, 2013, the White House celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by honoring eight young disability leaders, including NAD Policy Counsel Andrew Phillips, as Champions of Change. These eight individuals were honored for their “advocacy efforts, their innovative projects and their embodiment of the spirit of the ADA,” stated Claudia Gordon, an Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, in a blog post online prior to the event. The White House Champions of Change program recognizes ordinary Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities, and Phillips is truly a champion.
Since joining the NAD as Policy Counsel in early 2011, Phillips has led the NAD’s policy work on matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Copyright Office, Department of Transportation (DOT), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and other federal agencies. He has played a key role in advocating for the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in FCC rulemakings related to the implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) of 2010 which requires that Internet based videos and communications be accessible to people with disabilities. Phillips’ policy work often brings him to the Hill where he educates and advises Congressional offices on issues affecting deaf and hard of hearing people. In May 2013, Phillips testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee on the ADA and entertainment technologies.
Phillips also works everyday with deaf and hard of hearing members of the community, assisting them in resolving accessibility matters such as with access to telecommunications or closed captioning.
The National Association of the Deaf was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.