Above, left to right: Beth Mineo (University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies), Jody Hougentogler (Freedom Center for Independent Living), Kristin Harvey (Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council), and Marissa Band (CLASI Disabilities Law Program) attending the “Communities in Action: Building a Better America” event at the White House on April 11, 2024.

On April 11, 2024, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (CLASI) Disabilities Law Program (DLP) Project Director Marissa Band had the honor of being invited to the White House for a “Communities in Action: Building a Better America” event, as part of a delegation of Delaware community leaders and local elected officials.

We were so pleased that Delawareans with disabilities not only had a seat at the table but had multiple seats – Marissa was joined by our disability advocacy partners Kristin Harvey with the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council, Beth Mineo with the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware, and Jody Hougentogler with the Freedom Center for Independent Living.

President Biden welcomed the group and senior administration officials then briefed them on a range of policy initiatives impacting Delaware, followed by an interactive discussion.

The delegation met with officials including Chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality Brenda Mallory; Senior Advisor to the President and Coordinator of the American Rescue Plan Gene Sperling; Assistant to the President, Senior Advisor to the President, and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Stephen Benjamin; Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Arati Prabhakar. The day was capped with a special treat for the White House’s Delaware guests: a visit to the Oval Office!

We look forward to building on the day’s momentum as we continue to collaborate with Delaware’s disability advocates and nonprofit leaders to drive positive, innovative change for vulnerable and underserved communities.