Cultural Communities Advancing Disability Rights

Event Description: How can cultural institutions utilize a disability rights lens to advance inclusion? Join CCAC for a brief history lesson on disability rights followed by a rich panel discussion integrating diverse perspectives. Expert guests will discuss components of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Principles of Universal Design (and more) as they relate to employees, patrons and artists. The session will close with a live Q&A portion and attendees are encouraged to submit questions in advance upon registration.

This event has ended. Please enjoy the archived video recording!

Archived Event Videos

Cultural Communities Advancing Disability Rights

Archived Event Speakers

Ashley Eisenmenger (she/her/hers)

Public Relations Coordinator, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago

Ashley obtained a bachelor of arts degree in Organizational Communications from North Central College.  While at North Central, Ashley competed as the first NCAA triathlete with a disability that required sport-specific accommodations and advocated for the inclusion of people with disabilities in collegiate sports and the fitness and recreation industries. She currently works as the Public Relations Coordinator at Access Living.  Ashley speaks regularly to groups about topics such as perspective, adversity, performance, and disability.  She has given a Tedx talk and continues to advocate for the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities in the fitness world.


Charles R. Petrof (he/him/his)

Senior Attorney, Access Living of Metropolitan Chicago

Charles Petrof joined Access Living in 2016 as a Senior Attorney focusing on enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His litigation while at Access Living has focused on government and business accessibility, with significant work spanning the fields of medical care, education and transportation. He has also worked on several legislative efforts, including a successful effort to provide non-police mental and behavioral health support for non-violent individuals in crisis. Before coming to Access Living, Charles was a Supervisory Attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation (now Legal Aid Chicago), and Senior Attorney at Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc. He specialized in litigation under the Fair Housing Act, and in access to public benefits. He received his BA from Northwestern University and his JD from Wayne State University.


Richard Costes (he/him/his)

Actor, Director, and Freelance Accessibility Consultant

Richard Costes is a Chicago-based actor, director, and accessibility consultant. Selected roles include Snout in Midsummer Night’s Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Bosun in Mosquitoes at Steep Theatre Company, Arjun in Opportunities of Extinction (World Premiere) at Broken Nose Theatre, and Rev D./Baby in In the Blood at Red Tape Theatre.  Richard was one of 10 recipients of a 3Arts Award in 2019 and is also a 2020 ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Member. A 2006 graduate of Kent State University (B.A. Theatre) he has presented at Gallaudet University’s symposium on Visual Shakespeare and was a panelist and member of the 2019 Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session hosted by HowlRound at Emerson College and now sits on the board of the National Theatre of the Deaf. 


Whitney Hill (she/her/hers)

Accessibility Specialist at LCM Architects and Founder/Director of SPORK!

Whitney Hill is a specialist on accessibility with over a decade of experience in program management and communication. Her background in universal design and public accessibility combined with her personal background of identifying as someone with a disability give her a unique skillset to connect individuals with needed services, while also empowering them to advocate for themselves. Throughout her career, Whitney has aimed to ensure that public and institutional spaces are made readily accessible. She is also the founder and director of SPORK!, a 501 (c) 3 Nonprofit and online platform that serves as a voice for the disabled community.