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Anastasia Somoza    

International Disability Rights Advocate, Speaker and Consultant

Anastasia was born and raised in New York City, is fluent in both English and Spanish, and has been a disability rights advocate and human rights defender since the age of nine. Currently she works as a consultant with the Shield Institute, an organization that enables people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live full, meaningful lives.

Anastasia is also championing a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action that seeks to eliminate the abandonment of babies and children with disabilities in China. This will be accomplished through the realization of a Parent Education and Resource Center that teaches parents in China about children with disabilities and how to care for, nurture and love them.

She recently returned from Beijing, China where she was invited to speak at the Smart Lady Smart Life International Youth Action for Gender Equality and Sustainable Development Forum. It was held in celebration and commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Hillary Clinton’s human rights remarks at the United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women where she said, "human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights once and for all." During this time abroad she also spoke at the United States Embassy Beijing American Center in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the American's with Disabilities Act.

She graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in government and has completed her coursework and dissertation for her MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science and looks forward to receiving her degree in 2015.

A letter Anastasia wrote, addressing representation of people with disabilities and the importance of forgiveness, was recently published in Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please. The chapter entitled Sorry, Sorry, Sorry outlines an honest and sincere portrayal of how and why Amy and Anastasia met and became friends.

Speech Topics

Awareness and Advocacy

  • History of the Disability Rights Movement: An Aim for Social Justice
  • Improvement in Quality of Life and Justice for People with Disabilities
  • Disability Law and Policy and its Sociopolitical Implications
  • Intersection Between Disability and Violence

Discovering Your Own Personal Power

  • Self-Advocacy: Promoting Self-Determination (individual decides the supports that they receive)
  • Living with a Disability: Comparative Perspectives
  • Overcoming Adversity as a Woman with a Disability

Family Engagement and Education

  • Disability and the Family Life Cycle
  • Social Support and Transitioning into Adulthood Celebrating Diversity
  • The Role of Direct Support Professionals and Caregivers


Anastasia Somoza's entire Democratic convention speech - CNN ...

During her Democratic National Convention speech, disability advocate Anastasia Somoza's talks about her first meeting with Hillary Clinton and says Donald ...

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