Director, Disability Justice Initiative
Center for American Progress
Rebecca Cokley is the director of the Disability Justice Initiative at American Progress, where her work focuses on disability policy. Most recently, she served as the executive director of the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent agency charged with advising Congress and the White House on issues of national disability public policy. She joined the NCD in 2013 after serving in the Obama administration for four years, including time at the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a successful stint at the White House where she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts. Cokley got her feet wet in advocacy while working at the Institute for Educational Leadership, where she built a number of tools and resources designed to empower and educate youth with disabilities and their adult allies. Since then, she has spent the last 15 years helping make stronger and deeper connections across civil rights communities and continues to see cross-movement solidarity as the only means of surviving these next four years. She is also currently working on her first book. In 2015, she was inducted into the inaugural class of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame and was the recipient of the Frank Harkin Memorial Award by the National Council on Independent Living. Cokley has a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is the proud spouse of Patrick and mother of Jackson and Kaya.