Pat Wright, Director of Governmental Affairs for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) from 1980 to 2005, is widely regarded by both Democratic and Republican Administrations as a formidable legislative and policy strategist who was at the forefront of the shift in US disability policy from charity to civil rights.
She successfully advocated to establish disability as a bona fide civil rights issue within the broad civil rights community and worked for passage of numerous federal disability rights laws.
Ms. Wright is widely acknowledged as “The General” who coordinated the legislative campaign to enact the landmark 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She also played a critical role in the development of early civil rights legislation for people with HIV/AIDS.
Ms. Wright has received numerous awards and honors for her contribution to the disability rights movement, including the Presidential Citizens Medal awarded by President Bill Clinton, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Distinguished Service to America Award from President George H. W. Bush, and the Dole Foundation Award for Outstanding Leadership on the ADA from Senator Robert Dole. Ms. Wright currently serves as a disability policy consultant.