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

Wednesday, March 24 through Friday, March 26, 2021

2021 Location

This will be a virtual event.

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 rescheduled the 2020 Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium to March 24-26, 2021, and it will now be a virtual event. As a national conference of hundreds of disability rights advocates attending from throughout the United States, we believe we must take these steps 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 will open in January 2021. The registration fee will be $200 (nonrefundable) or $25 (nonrefundable) for students. 

    2021 Topics and Agenda

    In addition to structured programming, we are incorporating creative new ways to connect with your disability rights colleagues during the symposium.

    Sample topics will include:

    • Disability Identity and Intersectionality
    • Race and Gender Issues in the Civil Commitment Process
    • Perspectives on Disability in US Muslim Communities
    • Digital Accessibility—Developing Guidelines for Attorneys on Both Sides
    • Impacts and Outcomes of Marginalization and Intersectionality on Mental and Physical Health
    • ADA in Social and Human Service Settings
    • The Disparate Impact of Changes to Immigration Policy on Asylum Seekers with Disabilities: Strategies to Fight Back
    • Voting Rights for People with Disabilities Under the ADA
    • Connecting Disability Work with Broader Diversity and Inclusion Work
    • The Decline in the Employment of People with Disabilities—the Response of the Disability Rights Community

    The complete agenda will be available soon.



    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 2021 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.

    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.