Renowned disability advocates Judy Huemann and Andraéa LaVant to speak at YLF

PYD will host the 2021 Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum (YLF) virtually from June 14 – June 28. The 2021 YLF will feature a series of afternoon sessions, evening activities, Peer Leadership training and Parent Support meetings.

About 50 Youth Delegates and Peer Leaders with disabilities from across Massachusetts will gather for an intensive, virtual conference focused on empowering young leaders with disabilities to expand their social networks, build disability pride, and develop their leadership and self-advocacy skills. Two keynote speakers will highlight this year’s event.

On June 15th, renowned disability rights leader Judith (Judy) Heumann will visit the YLF with a Q & A session titled “Conversations with Judith Heumann.” Judy is an internationally recognized disability advocate, served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and was a Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation.

Judy was featured in the documentary, “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” a 2020 American award-winning documentary film nominated for a 2021 Academy Award. She is also an author of her memoir, “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist.” She is now the producer of The Heumann Perspective, a podcast and Youtube channel that aims to share the beauty of the disability community. Learn more at:

Regina Snowden, PYD’s Executive Director said of Huemann, “Judy knew in my early days of PYD that mentoring the younger generation to become leaders is one of my missions, and she always wanted to know how [PYD’s] efforts to succeed were going. I am so very fortunate, as anyone is who has the honor to know her, to have her as my mentor. I think what has transpired with her during her life is beyond extraordinary.”

On June 23rd, renowned communications consultant, inclusion specialist, and film producer Andraéa LaVant will provide the keynote address to Delegates and Peer Leaders at the 2021 Massachusetts Youth Leadership Forum Career Mentor Luncheon.

Andraéa LaVant is Founder and President of LaVant Consulting, Inc. (LCI), a social impact communications firm that offers cutting-edge corporate development and content marketing for brands and nonprofits. LCI’s specialty is helping brands “speak disability with confidence.” As a communications consultant and inclusion specialist, Andraéa has over a decade of experience working with programs that support youth and adults with disabilities and other underserved populations.

Andraéa’s professional roles and personal advocacy have presented her with a variety of notable opportunities to share messages and prompt change for people with disabilities across the globe. She currently serves as the impact producer for Netflix’s feature-length documentary, Crip Camp, where she is charged with leading the campaign’s efforts to promote understanding of disability as a social justice issue and build across lines of difference. Andraéa is a strong advocate for exploring disability from an intersectional lens and offers a unique perspective on the initiatives that she supports. Learn more at:

The Youth Leadership Forum is part of a national network of Youth Leadership Forums taking place annually in over 30 states nationwide. PYD hosts the Massachusetts contingent in partnership with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC), the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and Denny’s as well as numerous collaborators across the state.