Today, the White House highlights 17 community leaders for their work to help prepare their communities for disasters and to ensure a more resilient nation. These men and women, who hail from all parts of the U.S., will be honored at our weekly Champions of Change ceremony at the White House. Each of them has demonstrated significant innovation and creativity in working to get their communities ready for the unexpected, and they have embraced the approach of involving and planning for the needs of all members of their communities in emergency preparedness and response.
One of these remarkable honorees is Venus D. Majeski from Edison, New Jersey. Venus Majeski serves as Director of Development & Community Relations for the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities, one of the largest not-for-profit agencies, serving more than 1,500 infants, children and adults with disabilities throughout New Jersey. Venus is a passionate advocate for persons with disabilities and continues to participate in and direct numerous advocacy projects. She is a member of the Middlesex County Commission for Persons with Disabilities and the New Jersey Emergency Management Association.
In addition to serving with the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities and her other advocacy work, Venus spearheaded the Alianza Emergency Preparedness Project Plus (AEPP-Plus) as Project Director. AEPP-Plus is designed to address the disaster readiness of people with access and functional needs who live in a culturally diverse, majority Hispanic/Latino, low income community, which has been underserved in all areas. AEPP-Plus brings individuals to the table and to leadership positions in disaster readiness. The goal of AEPP-Plus is to integrate all individuals into their community's overall disaster readiness preparations, shifting attitudes and changing systems to ensure a truly responsive and embracing community.
Venus Majeski’s work as an advocate for people with disabilities is truly commendable and embodies this administration’s belief that preparedness and emergency coordination must involve all segments of the population, whether they are individuals with disabilities, young children, or older adults. We are both very proud and privileged to recognize Venus as one of this year’s “Champions of Change.”
Kareem Dale is the Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy.