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Celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Published by Kassi Soulard on

This is a special post written by Charles Warren, Curriculum Developer at Triangle. Charlie is also a member of Triangle’s Racial Equity Committee. As part of our commitment to the work of our Racial Equity Committee, we will be sharing more information with you on subjects related to racial equity and disability justice. This post continues our series dedicated to calling attention to the contributions of people with disabilities to American history.

This month, Triangle’s Racial Equity Committee (REC) is celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by highlighting Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders who are focused on increasing awareness and empowerment for people with disabilities. The REC’s posts strive to honor intersectionality and highlight people of color with disabilities whose lives cross over multiple identities and issues ALL at the same time.

Ollie Cantos

Ollie Cantos wears a dark suit, a white collared shirt, a red and yellow geometric tie, and sunglasses as he smiles at the camera. He has close-cropped brown hair and light brown skin

Ollie Cantos is an important figure in the contemporary disability rights movement. He is a lawyer who has successfully advocated for the rights of people with disabilities in many contexts throughout his career in law and public service.  Ollie received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School Los Angeles. He has served as the Staff Attorney and Director of Outreach and Education at the Disability Rights Legal Center, the General Counsel and Director of Programs for the American Association of People with Disabilities, and the Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the US Department of Justice.  He has received presidential appointments from two different US presidents, and his work with the federal government has spanned Democratic and Republican administrations.

Mr. Cantos is the first blind person elected to the City Council in West Covina, California in its 100-year history. West Covina is Cantos’s hometown, where he was raised by his parents who were Filipino immigrants.  He is the Chairman of the Board at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organized to fight stigma, advance opportunities, and build solidarity for Americans with disabilities. Ollie and his three sons, Nick, Leo, and Steven, who are also blind, achieved national prominence when they attained the rank of Eagle Scout, and were featured in stories on NPR, People Magazine, ABC’s World News Tonight, and more.

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