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COPAA Diversity Statement

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) is at the forefront of advocacy for students with disabilities and their families. COPAA works to increase the quality and quantity of representation available to students and their families and to ensure the rights of children with disabilities and their parents/guardians are protected. As an organization committed to civil rights, COPAA recognizes the relationship between discrimination and bias against people with disabilities and other forms or systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination based on race, national origin, ethnic and/or religious identity, sex/gender/gender identity/sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status.


COPAA is committed to the full inclusion of persons of diverse backgrounds and identities in COPAA’s leadership and membership and defines inclusivity as the valuing and promotion of the perspectives of those of different backgrounds and identities. COPAA defines cultural competency as a set of values, behaviors, attitudes, and practices within a system, organization, program, or among individuals, which enables them to work effectively, cross culturally. This includes, but is not limited to race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, class, age, ability, religion, and language. COPAA is committed to the development of policies and activities to promote the participation of diverse stakeholders and constituents, and to encourage all of its members to demonstrate cultural competency and genuine sensitivity in representing and advocating for students and their families. In addition, COPAA is committed to considering fully, in all activities and programs, the intersectionality of race, national origin, ethnic, cultural and/or religious identity, sexual/gender identity/ sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, in our efforts to protect and enforce the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families.


In addition, COPAA seeks to address issues affecting access to advocacy for students of color and linguistically diverse children and their families in recognition that these students are disproportionately represented in special education. Our organization also seeks to address the need for advocates, attorneys, and empowered self-advocates from diverse communities as leaders and members of COPAA to fully address the inherent inequities experienced by students of color and linguistically diverse students.


Adopted by the COPAA Board, February 19, 2015


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