At Breaking Barriers we have two keynote speakers each year, one to start off the day and one between the morning and afternoon sessions. This year we are pleased to present Sue Swenson and Cristina Sanz. You can read more about them here:
Sue Swenson most recently served the Obama administration as acting assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services, leading more than 200 staff to manage over $15 billion in federal funding. She is currently the president-elect of Inclusion International, the UN-recognized disabled people’s organization for children with disabilities, their parents, and adults with intellectual disabilities. She serves as a volunteer. Sue learned about disability from her middle son Charlie, who lived for 30 years with profound disabilities. She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, was a Kennedy Fellow in the US Senate, was commissioner for developmental disabilities in the Clinton administration, and has been executive director of the Kennedy Foundation and The Arc of the Untied States. She was educated at the University of Chicago and holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota.
Cristina Sanz is a 27 year old young woman with Down Syndrome. She was born in Long Beach, CA and is the oldest of 3 siblings. Cristina was the first student to be fully included in her elementary neighborhood school. Later in middle school and high school she continued to defy the status quo. A well-tailored program allowed her to enjoy age appropriate typical experiences. Cristina broke ground in high school when she was the first student with a disability to make the school’s Drill Team. As an adult she works at a school and volunteers in a senior center. She is very much in love with her fiance Angel. They are planning on getting married in the near future. Cristina has always enjoyed performing and her ultimate dream came true when she was cast in the A&E show Born This Way.