PHILADELPHIA—-Today Mayor James F. Kenney and Nolan Atkinson, the city’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer welcomed the newly appointed and reappointed members of the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

“The Commission’s input is crucial to helping us build an administration that is inclusive and truly represents the diversity of the city,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “Further, the Commission will provide a key link for city services to our population of persons with disabilities, and I anticipate looking to the Commission for insights into policy that can help better serve members of this community.”

Charles Horton, who has served as the executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities since 2011, will continue to head the commission. He will also continue to be the city’s Accessibility Compliance Specialist and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator.

“I’m excited and looking forward to doing my best to help make Philadelphia a leading city in the realm of accessibility and equality,” Horton said. “I’m also looking forward to this opportunity to work with Mayor Kenney and to move forward a shared agenda on behalf of people with disabilities.”

Coming from various for-profit and non-profit organizations that provide services to people with disabilities, the new appointments are Lauren DeBruicker, a partner at the Duane Morris law firm; Adam Devlin, of New Vitae Wellness and Recovery; Elizabeth Hill, of the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf; American Sign Language interpreter Kevin Mundey; and Lauren Sheller, attorney at the law firm of  Sheller PC

Returning to the commission for another term are Dario Bellot, Pennsylvania School for the Deaf; Gregory Bones, Inglis House and Inglis Foundation; Nakea Fuller, Philadelphia Housing Authority;  Renee Kirby, Temple University, Ajantha Nanayakkara, Global Abilities Foundation;  Rev. Patricia Russell, SEPTA Advisory Committee; Zuleika Santana Torres, and Sharon Shecter Cohen, Montgomery Home Care and Hospice

“In order to have a fully diverse and inclusive city, the disabilities community must be full participants in all of the city’s affairs,” said Chief Diversity Officer Nolan Atkinson.  “Between 12 and 16 percent of Philadelphians ages 15 to 64 self-identify as having a disability. That’s why it makes sense for the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities to fall under the office of Diversity and Inclusion, and I look forward to working in partnership with the Commission realizing the Mayor’s vision for the city.”

The Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities provides a forum for the community of people with disabilities to address concerns regarding housing, employment, health and human services, transportation, recreation and education. The commission also monitors ADA compliance, legislation,  and policies that impact people with disabilities in government and in the private sector.

Approximately 16 percent of all Philadelphians are affected with a physical or cognitive disability.