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Center for Independent Living Welcomes Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda as New Executive Director Amid Crucial Times for Disability Rights

Dr. Pineda Headshot

Press Release

Dr. Pineda Headshot

Center for Independent Living Welcomes Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda as New Executive Director Amid Crucial Times for Disability Rights

Berkeley, CA – May 8, 2024 – As the 2024 elections approach, the stakes have never been higher for the 61 million adults in the United States living with a disability. At this pivotal moment, the Center for Independent Living (CIL), a cornerstone of the disability rights movement since 1972, proudly announces the appointment of Dr. Victor Santiago Pineda as its new Executive Director. Dr. Pineda, a renowned global advocate and scholar, is set to lead CIL into a future where the hard-won victories for disability rights face both opportunities and challenges.

With threats looming over essential accessibility gains and civil rights, Dr. Pineda’s leadership is timely. His extensive experience in shaping key disability rights initiatives, including presidential appointments on the US Federal Access Board and significant contributions to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, positions him uniquely to safeguard and advance these freedoms.

Joshua Halstead, Chair of the Board of CIL, shares his enthusiasm: “With Dr. Pineda at the helm, CIL is poised to tackle today’s most pressing issues—protecting vital benefits, ensuring access and accommodation, responding to public health emergencies like COVID, and innovating community-based emergency preparedness. His visionary leadership is exactly what we need to steer us through these challenging times.”

Joan Leon, an influential disability rights activist, echoed this sentiment, stating, “Victor has always been a trailblazer in our community. His leadership at CIL is crucial as we strive to amplify the voices of people with disabilities during this highly consequential election cycle and beyond.”

Dr. Pineda’s strategy includes invigorating CIL’s mission with new vigor aimed at enhancing quality of life for persons with disabilities and addressing the growing needs of older adults transitioning into disability. His approach marries historical advocacy with cutting-edge strategies to foster deep community ties and build strategic partnerships across sectors.

Under Dr. Pineda’s guidance, CIL will host a series of town halls to sculpt a future where disability rights are synonymous with human rights, ensuring independence is within everyone’s reach. Initiatives under his leadership will focus on harnessing emerging technologies and creating integrative solutions for emergency preparedness, mobility, housing, entrepreneurship and employment. These efforts reinforce CIL’s legacy as a vanguard of policy and research on a national and international stage.

Join us as we embark on this transformative journey with Dr. Pineda, reinforcing our commitment to a society where every individual is empowered, included, and every voice is heard.

For more insights into Dr. Pineda’s vision and upcoming CIL initiatives, or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Nagisa Smalheiser  
Media & Communications Manager  
Center for Independent Living  


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