Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium

The annual Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium honors the legacy of Dr. Jacobus tenBroek who founded the National Federation of the Blind in 1940.

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek black and white portrait.2021 Dates

Thursday, March 25 through Friday, March 26, 2021

2021 Location

National Federation of the Blind
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230

2021 Theme

Race, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the Right to Live in the World

2020 Update

Upon careful consideration regarding the spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States, we are rescheduling the National Federation of the Blind 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium to March 25-26, 2021. As a national conference of hundreds of disability rights advocates attending from throughout the United States, we believe we must take this step to address the current situation in a responsible manner, considering advice from public health officials and concerns from attendees and speakers. Because of the important issues we had planned to address during the 2020 symposium, the theme, “Race, Diversity, and Inclusion, and the Right to live in the World,” will be carried over to 2021.

Diverse Views and Perspectives

The success of the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium depends on the inclusion of all viewpoints and persuasions from the broadest spectrum of individuals and organizations in the disability rights community. Continuing Dr. tenBroek’s lifelong pursuit of dignity, equality, and full participation in society by the disabled requires the thoughts and ideas of people from diverse worlds and world views.


Registration for the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium is currently closed.

Registration Fee

  • $200 (nonrefundable)
  • Students: $25 (nonrefundable)

2021 Topics and Agenda

The 2021 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will consist of plenary sessions and workshops facilitated by distinguished practitioners, advocates, and academics who will discuss topics such as:

  • Use of the ADA to protect marginalized groups in human and social service settings.
  • Connecting disability work with broader diversity and inclusion work
  • Developing effective mental health crisis services to prevent unnecessary institutionalization
  • Using disability justice approaches to protect disability rights throughout disasters
  • The decline in the employment of people with disabilities
  • Perspectives on disability in the US Muslim communities
  • Psychiatric service animals
  • Race and gender issues in the civil commitment process
  • Restraint and seclusion in schools
  • Legal strategies to obtain testing accommodations for high achieving immigrants with disabilities
  • Housing discrimination and disability
  • Disability access under the CVAA and other regulations
  • Disparate impact of changes in immigration policy on asylum seekers with disabilities
  • Accessibility laws and how they apply to health plans

Review the full 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium agenda. Review the bios for this year's presenters and workshops facilitators



Brown Goldstein & Levy, LLP logo

Disability Rights Advocates logo

Rosen, Bien, Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP logo


Derby, McGuinness & Goldsmith, LLP logo

Pearson logo


AARP Foundation
Burton Blatt Institute
The Digital Accessibility Legal Summit 2020
Law School Admission Council
Rosenberg Martin Greenberg, LLP
Whiteford | Taylor | Preston

White Cane

The American Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Center
LaBarre Law Offices


Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Goldstein Borgen Dardarian & Ho
Lainey Feingold
Law Office of John F. Waldo

Your support of the Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium will help shape the future of disability law and ensure that people with disabilities enjoy the same right to live in the world as their non-disabled peers. To become a sponsor of the 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, please contact Anna Adler at 410-659-9314, extension 2282, or aadler@nfb.org.

CLE Credit

Documentation for CLE credits will be provided.

Hotel Information

A block of rooms has been reserved for symposium participants at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, located at 550 Light Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. The hotel is directly across from the Inner Harbor and is convenient to the National Federation of the Blind. Rooms may be reserved for March 24 through March 28, 2020, at the rate of $159.00 per night for singles or doubles, $179.00 for triples, and $199.00 for quads, plus applicable taxes and surcharges. Make your reservation online at Sonesta Reservations or by call the hotel directly at 410-234-0550 and refer to the National Federation of the Blind block, group code 0324NATFED. 

Reservations must be made by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 25, 2020. 

The NFB will provide a free morning and evening accessible shuttle between the hotel and the National Federation of the Blind.


Symposium materials will be provided in large print and Braille. Participants who require other accommodations should contact Lou Ann Blake at lblake@nfb.org no later than 12:00 a.m. ET, Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Steering Committee Members

  • Ella Callow
  • Tim Elder
  • Deepa Goraya
  • Jasmine Harris
  • Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum
  • Katherine Kudlick
  • Scott LaBarre
  • Katherine Martinez
  • Shannon Minter
  • Sandra Sermons 
  • Maria Town
  • Silvia Yee

Dr. Jacobus tenBroek's Publications

Dr. tenBroek's publications and speeches are as relevant and compelling today as they were decades ago. The archives in the Jacobus tenBroek Library are home to Dr. tenBroek’s collected works, and a detailed description of his personal and professional papers is available in THE CANE TIP. An accessible digital exhibit focused on Dr. tenBroek’s life and work is also available through Digital Maryland. For more information or to schedule a research appointment, please send an email to jtblibrary@nfb.org or call 410-659-9314.

[A]s to the immutability of social attitudes and discriminatory actions towards the blind, we know from intimate experience that the sighted public wishes well for the blind and that its misconceptions are rather the result of innocence and superstition than of deliberate cruelty and malice aforethought. It is not the education of the sighted only which is needed to establish the right of the blind to equality and integration. Just as necessary is the education of the blind themselves. For the process of their rehabilitation ... is complete only when they have driven the last vestige of the public stereotype of the blind from their own minds. In this sense, and to this extent only, is it true that the blind person must "adjust" to his handicap and to society. His adjustment need not—indeed must not—mean his submission to all prevailing social norms and values. His goal is not conformity but autonomy: not acquiescence, but self-determination and self control. — Dr. Jacobus tenBroek

Past Symposia

Review highlights from previous Jacobus tenBroek Law Symposia on the past symposia page.

More Information

Additional details will be posted online as they become available. For more information, please contact Lou Ann Blake at 410-659-9314, extension 2221, or lblake@nfb.org, or Stacie Dubnow at 410-659-9314, extension 2442, or sdubnow@nfb.org.