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Catarina Rivera      

Disability Advocate, DEI Consultant & Content Creator; Founder of Blindish Latina

Catarina Rivera has earned a BA in Psychology from Duke University with a scholarship from the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program; a Master of Science in Education (MSEd) degree from the Bank Street College of Education with a focus on Dual Language/Bilingual Education; as well as a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Hunter College.

Rivera is also the founder of Blindish Latina, a platform smashing disability stigmas through storytelling, advocacy, and education. In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavors, she has over 14+ years of experience working in educational institutions and at nonprofit organizations. She has experience in program development/management, managing teams, capacity building, community organizing, community engagement, and diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI) initiatives as part of employee groups.

As a Latine/x woman who has lived with disability all her life, she brings a deep understanding of intersectionality to conversations surrounding disability. She wore hearing aids from a young age but did not know why she she was hard of hearing. At 17, she was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome which includes progressive vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa as well as a hearing disability.

Learning that she was losing her vision was very difficult for 17-year-old Rivera. As her disability journey progressed over the years, she describes her progression as moving through the following four stages: “From Denial to Acceptance to Self-Advocacy to Public Advocacy.” In her journey, Rivera has learned what it is like to have a nonapparent disability that one can make apparent or choose not to disclose. She began using a white cane several years ago and noticed changes in how society viewed her. She now feels disability pride and is empowered by sharing her story.

Rivera is bilingual in English and Spanish. Her family is Cuban and Puerto Rican, and she is a first generation American on one side and second generation on the other.

Rivera shares her expertise, lived experience with disability, and passion on topics related to disability awareness, inclusion, digital inclusion, accessibility, allyship, and advocacy.

Speech Topics

Intersectionality: Perspective of a Professional, Disabled, Latine Woman

This session addresses the intersectionality of identity within diversity through Catarina's personal storytelling approach. Perfect for Disability Pride Month, Latinx Heritage Month, and Disability Employment Awareness Month.

A Practical Introduction to Disability Awareness

This session focuses on demystifying disability and equipping employees with foundational understandings of disability, including appropriate language to use for disability and how to prevent microaggressions. All participants will learn that disability is not a bad word!

Disability Inclusion for Leaders

Managers and leaders will learn the benefits of inclusion, why disability inclusion is so important, as well as key best practices for inclusion. Managers and leaders will learn how to respond appropriately and supportively to disability disclosure.

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