Panel description: The disability community is one that anyone can become a member of at any time. Therefore, intersectionality plays a significant role in disability issues, including civic engagement. Members of the LGBTQ, BIPOC and disability community, as well as those engaged in voting and civic access work will come together to discuss the crossroads and importance of honoring multiple identities when considering voter access.
Panelists: Jazlyn Gallego, David Darm, Sarah Goldman, Nadine Smith, and Cecile Scoon
Nadine Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, the state’s largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A former award-winning journalist turned organizer, Nadine was one of four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington. She was part of the historic oval office meeting between then – President Clinton – the first such meeting between a sitting President and gay community leaders. She served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization, which celebrates 30 years in 2014.
She is a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, board member for Green Florida and served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee. In 2013, was named one of the state’s “Most Powerful and Influential Women” by the Florida Diversity Council. She was also given the League of Women Voter’s Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. She currently serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee. Nadine also recently received the Keys to the City of Saint Petersburg in 2021. Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith to the 2022 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She lives in St. Petersburg with her wife Andrea and son Logan.
Cecile M. Scoon, Esq. currently serves as the President of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Scoon is the first Black woman to serve in this capacity. She is a past president of the League of Women Voters of Bay County. Scoon previously served as chair of the Florida League’s efforts on Restoration of Rights (including passing Florida’s 2018 Amendment 4). Cecile is a proud member of the Xi Omicron Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Scoon received a Visual and Environmental Studies undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1981. She is currently a practicing civil rights lawyer in Panama City, Florida. After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984, she spent five years as an active duty Air Force JAG prosecuting in military courts martial. She retired from the Air Force reserves as a Major in 2005.
Jazlyn Gallego is a Central Florida native. As a daughter of immigrants, she has always felt inspired to engage in our country’s civic life. Jazlyn has a deep love of advocacy, feeling that it is vital both to inform and deepen the public’s view of civic participation. She began her career as a voter registration canvasser in Hispanic communities and then served as part of several non-profit organizations in the Central Florida area. Jazlyn has since worked and interned for policy makers and candidates in every level from City Commission to the United States Senate. Jazlyn joined VoteRiders in 2018 and is thrilled to continue making a difference, passionately working to help others exercise their voting rights. She received her B.A. from Rollins College in International Affairs in 2018 and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Policy Management at Georgetown University.
David Darm has dedicated his life to being an advocate for individuals with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups. David was born legally blind and has had to overcome his own barriers to independence, including transportation. David pursued a career in public policy, where he could be a voice for others like himself to become independent and contributing members of their community. For over ten years, David has served in numerous roles within Florida state government, developing policies that advance employment and transportation opportunities for persons with disabilities. In 2009, he was appointed to the Florida Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged (CTD) and later re-appointed to serve as the Chair from 2011 to 2016. Between 2010 and 2014, David served as the Executive Director of Governor Rick Scott’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities, where he led multiple policy initiatives to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities in the state’s workforce. He also worked for the Division of Blind Services and Agency for Persons with Disabilities, where he facilitated collaborative efforts to support community integration of individuals served by the respective agencies. Since 2019, David has served as the Executive Director of the CTD and is working with stakeholders to strengthen the Coordinated Transportation System, including areas of funding, innovation, and access to services. David is accompanied by his guide dog, “Ranger,” and loves to cook (and eat), run, and travel.
Sarah Goldman received her Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University Central Florida and furthered her education by earning a Master’s in Social Work from Florida State University. Sarah has used her education and experiences as an individual with a disability to advocate for others. Before joining the Florida Independent Living Council as the Director of Administration and Youth Initiatives, Sarah worked as a legislative aide in the Florida Legislature where she helped influence disability policy. She has been recognized for her personal and professional achievements as an advocate for community integration, inclusion, and employment initiatives for those with disabilities.
Maddie Crowley (she/they) is Disability Rights Florida Social Media and Content Specialist. They recently graduated form the University of Florida with degrees in Linguistics and Education with a minor in Disability Studies. Identifying as disabled themself, Maddie strives to bring disability justice to the forefront of her work. Before working full time at DRF, Maddie interned for over 2 years as the organization’s Communications Intern. Maddie has been thoroughly involved with social justice work and education at DRF, but also in school and personal life, where she helped lead student social justice educational retreats, did accessibility work and presented for the Academics for Black Lives conference, did disability awareness consulting, and performed research which was published in the American Psychology Association’s journal.