Lydia is a disabled advocate, writer, organizer, educator, speaker, and attorney. They are the Policy Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology and an adjunct lecturer in disability studies in Georgetown University’s Department of English. Lydia is the founder and director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. They are also the Policy and Advocacy Associate for the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network.
Lydia’s work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. Lydia has nearly a decade of experience as a leader, thinker, and change-agent within the autistic self-advocacy and neurodiversity movements. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex. They are the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color.
In their previous professional role, Lydia was the Institute Associate for Disability Rights and Algorithmic Fairness at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Tech Law and Policy. Prior to that, they were Justice Catalyst Legal Fellow at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, where they worked on defending and advancing the educational civil rights of Maryland students with psychosocial, intellectual, and developmental disabilities facing various forms of disproportionate discipline, restraint and seclusion, and school pushout. As a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College, they designed and taught a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements. Lydia is a past Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force, Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership, and Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.
They have received honors from many organizations, including the White House, Washington Peace Center, National Council on Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts, American Association of People with Disabilities, and Society for Disability Studies. Their writing appears in numerous community and scholarly publications, including Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence; Addressing Ableism: Philosophical Questions via Disability Studies; QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology; Torture in Healthcare Settings; and All In Your Head: Queerness, Neurodiversity, & Disability Zine.