Who We Are

Who Is Disability Voices United?

A powerful advocacy network of individuals with developmental disabilities and their family members throughout California who have united to take back the systems they created a half-century ago. We have diverse board and committee members and Ambassadors in every part of the state and at every regional center.

Our Mission Statement

Disability Voices United is a statewide organization directed by and for individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages and their families.

We advocate for:

  • Choice and control over our lives.
  • Meaningful outcomes that matter to us.
  • Systems that are equitable and accountable to us.

Board of Directors

Judy Mark
President / CEO
Fernando Gomez
Vice President
Christine Motokane
Secretary
Rick Wood
Treasurer / CFO
Stephen Hinkle
Tim Jin
Connie Lapin
Alison Morantz
Diana Pastora Carson
Nina Spiegelman

Disability Voices United Ambassadors

Disability Voices United is fueled by a network of representatives called Ambassadors comprised of clients and family members at each of the 21 Regional Centers throughout California. The Ambassadors serve as our "eyes, ears and voices" and play a vital role in our advocacy efforts statewide.

As our “eyes,” the Ambassadors will monitor activities of their regional centers by reviewing all materials from the regional centers including: board of directors agendas, materials, and minutes, contracts with DDS, performance plans and reports, annual reports, annual audits, demographic data, consumer expenditures, disparity data, plans to reduce disparities, vendor contracts, 990 forms, board of directors diversity data, and other relevant materials.

As our “ears,” the Ambassadors will listen to the concerns of individuals served by their regional centers and their families. They will attend and listen to discussions at boards of directors and committee meetings, disparity meetings, and other public meetings held by the regional centers. In addition, the Ambassadors will attend support groups and gatherings of community organizations to hear about other concerns of individuals and families.

As our “voices,” the Ambassadors will speak out on key issues of concern from the community and on priorities of the statewide organization. In addition, the Ambassadors, in cooperation with the Disability Voices United board of directors and statewide committees, will train community members to advocate for systemic changes at their regional centers.

President / CEO

Judy Mark

Judy Mark has a 20-year old son with autism, which led her to become co-founder and President of Disability Voices United. As Government Relations Co-Chair of the Autism Society of Los Angeles and a board member of Disability Rights California, she helped lead the successful effort to enact California’s self-determination law.

She remains actively involved in the implementation as a member of the DDS workgroup and Chair of Westside Regional Center’s local advisory committee. She has spoken extensively throughout California and trained thousands of individuals and families about self-determination, person-centered planning, and rights under the Lanterman Act.

Judy is currently a faculty member at UCLA and teaches an undergraduate course in the Disability Studies Department. Her past professional experience includes over 30 years with national policy organizations, most extensively focusing on immigrant and refugee rights. Judy lives in L.A. with her husband, Allen Erenbaum, and son, Joshua, and she visits her daughter, Emma, often at Barnard College.

Vice President

Fernando Gomez

Mr. Gomez is an industry expert on multicultural marketing with an emphasis on niche markets and has held senior positions with top corporations including Televisa, Microsoft, and France Telecomm.

He is also a passionate advocate for individuals with special needs, including his son with Down syndrome. He was appointed by Governor Brown to the Interagency Coordinating Council on Early Intervention (ICC) and was involved in several boards including the Board of Directors (past Chairman) for Westside Regional Center, and past President, Board of Directors of ARCA (Association of Regional Center Agencies).

He also served on the Board of Directors for the Special Olympics of Southern California (SOSC) and Latino Entertainment Media Institute. He is a member of the state workgroup on self-determination as well as the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Elizabeth, and sons, ten-year old Oscar Antonio, and eight-year old, Diego.

Secretary

Christine Motokane

Christine Motokane is a self-advocate serving as Secretary of Disability Voices United and sits on the Board of the Autism Society of Los Angeles. She graduated with honors from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in psychology. Currently, she is employed as a behavioral aide at a special needs school. In 2014, Christine wrote an autobiography titled “Working the Double Shift: A Young Woman’s Journey with Autism.”

She has spoken about her experiences with various groups such as Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Southwest SELPA, the FRED conference, Loyola Marymount University, UCLA and the US Autism and Asperger’s Association. Her goal is to spread autism acceptance and to educate others about the need to create a variety of supports and opportunities for adults with autism and other special needs in the areas of employment, postsecondary education, housing and social/recreation.

Treasurer / CFO

Rick Wood

Rick Wood has been a practicing attorney in California for over 40 years. He holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University, and a Masters in Taxation from Golden Gate University.

His areas of practice include estate and tax planning, special needs trusts, guardianships and conservatorships. He has actively participated as a parent-advocate and speaker at numerous special needs and self-determination conferences. He serves on a stakeholders committee charged with implementing recent legislation to expand California’s self-determination program and is the chairperson of the Kern Regional Center Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee.

He has served on the Mammoth Lakes Town Council from 1998 through 2006 and 2010 through 2014, including 6 years as Mammoth’s mayor. He lives in Mammoth Lakes with his wife, Cheryl, and son, Davis, age 21, who has been a participant in the KRC Self-Determination Project for 17 years.

Stephen Hinkle

Stephen Hinkle is a self-advocate and national speaker. He has spoken across 23 states on topics such as autism, inclusion, and disability advocacy. Stephen has his Bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in Computer Science and Masters degree from Northern Arizona University in Disability Policy Studies. Stephen is also a former special education student who is on the Autism Spectrum.

Tim Jin

A self-advocate with cerebral palsy, Tim graduated from Cal State Long Beach in speech communication. He currently works for Teacher Created Resources. Tim has been an active member on several advisory boards, such as IHSS, USC UCEDD, and Self-Determination Program Local Advisory Committee for Regional Center of Orange County.

Tim has been using an AAC device ever since he was in elementary school.  One of his passions is for everyone to communicate through technology, whatever that happens to be.  It doesn't matter what your disability is, everyone needs to communicate.

Connie Lapin

A speech pathologist, Connie Lapin has been a lecturer and family advocate for children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities for over 45 years. When her son Shawn was diagnosed in 1970, there was a dearth of information and no services available.

Connie has testified before government bodies, lectured at universities and conferences, and made appearances on television and radio. Connie's accolades include "Woman of the Year" in Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield's district, and a Lifetime Achievement and Meritorious Service for Autism from Senate Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg.

As current co-chair of the Government Relations Committee for the Autism Society of Los Angeles, she helped lead the successful effort in California to enact Self-Determination legislation that was signed in October 2013 by Governor Brown.

Alison Morantz

Alison Morantz moved to California in 2004 to join the faculty of Stanford Law School, where she teaches contracts and employment law, and researches the law and economics of protective labor regulation.  Her son, who has autism and comorbid mental illness, lives in the community after spending years receiving treatment away from home.

Despite the complexity of his condition, he enjoys considerable day-to-day autonomy, has free access to the outdoors, and sees his family frequently.  Alison and her husband were founding members of the Parent Advisory Board of the Stanford Autism Center.  They continue to advocate for their son and other individuals with developmental disabilities, especially those with comorbid conditions.

Diana Pastora Carson

Diana Pastora Carson, M.Ed. has been an educator for over 20 years. She is a consultant and trainer on diversity as it relates to disability and is the author of several articles and books including Beyond Awareness: Bringing Disability into Diversity Work in K-12 Schools & Communities, and children’s book, Ed Roberts: Father of Disability Rights.

Her Ability Awareness work has earned her statewide PTA recognitions in the areas of advocacy and outreach, as well as her school’s designation of Teacher of the Year. She has also been featured on several radio programs, and served two terms on the Board of Directors of Disability Rights California. Diana credits her passion for this work to her brother, Joaquin, who endured years of segregated schooling and subsequent institutionalization. And she takes the most pride in knowing that Joaquin now lives a life of inclusion in the community, as her next-door neighbor.

Nina Spiegelman

Nina Spiegelman has a 21 year-old son with autism and is an active participant in parent advocacy efforts on behalf of the East Bay autism and developmental disability communities. She has played a key role in developing the East Bay Parents Housing Network into an effective family support and education group. She is currently working to focus attention of local agencies on the urgent need to improve crisis prevention and intervention services.

Nina is an Associate Regional Counsel in the Office of Regional Counsel at the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest Regional Office based in San Francisco. For over 30 years she has supervised attorneys providing legal support for the agency's implementation and enforcement of federal environmental statutes.