A Message from Theo Braddy: Something Should Be Said!

April 2, 2024

This may not be a popular message, but something should be said. Early in my career, working in this field, I learned something. It was very important to me to become an expert on certain topics. For example, when the ADA was enacted, I knew I had to become an expert on it, and I did. It served me well in those early years.

I remember learning this life lesson. I can’t remember who taught it, but it goes like this. If you always want to be employed, become an expert on something no one else wants to put in the time to learn.

I have used this life lesson repeatedly on various topics, especially disability-related topics.

Be patient; I am going somewhere with this!

I am not the only person with a disability who has done this. Many of my colleagues with different types of disabilities have educated themselves, put in the hard work, and gained much expert knowledge on various subject matters.

Theo Braddy - A black man with a bald head, a salt and pepper full beard wearing glasses, is speaking into a microphone on stage at NCIL's Rally at the Capitol.These are experts with disabilities who are called upon all over the nation to share their expertise. One could and should call them professional consultants.

I started Theo Braddy Consulting to take advantage of this body of knowledge that others didn’t take the time to learn. This is one of the reasons why I am currently serving as Executive Director of NCIL.

Okay, here it goes. This is why I called this message “Something Should Be Said”.

I am sure many of my colleagues with disabilities who are experts can relate to this – why is it that we are called upon to share our expert knowledge, but no one wants to compensate us for it?

We are frequently approached by federal and state agencies, major corporations, and non-profits to lend our voices, deliver presentations, provide training, participate on panels, all without compensation.

Meanwhile these same entities readily shell out substantial sums to consultants without disabilities, expecting and accepting their fees.

I suppose the rationale for this inequity, because that’s what it is – is that our participation signifies inclusivity, and we should be content with merely being invited.

But isn’t fair compensation a fundamental aspect of inclusion, too?

It’s time for this discrepancy to be addressed. Something should indeed be said.

This is Theo Braddy, Executive Director of NCIL.  Be well. Bye-bye for now.

Theo Braddy

Executive Director

National Council on Independent Living

About NCIL

NCIL is the longest-running national cross-disability grassroots organization, driven by and dedicated to people with disabilities. Since its founding in 1982, NCIL has represented thousands of organizations and individuals, advocating tirelessly for the human and civil rights of people with disabilities across the United States.