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is the founding Director of the Center for American Progress’ Disability Justice Initiative, the first disability policy project to be housed inside of a major national progressive organization. From 2013-17, served as the Executive Director of the National Council on Disability, an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy. Prior to leading NCD, Rebecca served 4 years in the Obama Administration at the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and a successful stint at the White House where she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts. Rebecca started in advocacy at the Institute for Educational Leadership where she was responsible for youth development/leadership programming. Rebecca serves on the board of directors for Common Cause, Rockwood, and the ACLU of DC. In 2017 she and her family were featured as part of CNN’s #ToBeMe series and she’s appeared on Vox/Netflix series “Explained,” “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” and NPR. She is the 2020 Richman Distinguished Fellow for Public Life for Brandeis University. In 2015 she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. She is a Rockwood Leading From the Inside Out Fellow (2016-17). Rebecca has a B.A in Politics from the UC Santa Cruz, is the proud spouse of Patrick and mother of 3 and is currently working on her first two books.
In her piece for “Represent,” Rebecca Cokley addresses challenges facing people with both visible and invisible disabilities in the federal work force, particularly the SF-86, a federal form required for security clearances.