Presenter

Jeff Rosen

General Counsel and Vice President of Governmental Affairs
Snap Video Relay Services (Snap!VRS)

Jeff Rosen is a third generation deaf person who was raised in an environment where he received mixed messages. His deaf family said he was fully of the world and cherished for who he is with absolutely no limitations on his aspirations. In Jeff’s family and the deaf community, he experienced pride and joy in a rich tradition of shared identity and culture. On the other hand, society found him deficient. Growing up in a public school and in his neighborhood, along with his first attempts to work, he was consistently told that his difference left him short of the mark. Jeff’s life has been a struggle to reconcile the conflicting values.

From an early age he was determined to be a disability rights attorney to gain better control of his reality. In the absence of disability related literature and media, Jeff turned to the insightful and empowering works of African-American authors who talked about the oppression of their people and the ways they overcame negative attitudes and limited opportunities. Their voices taught him that the greatest disability is not of the body, but of a closed mind. Jeff also learned about the value a human rights movement, using the power of collective thinking and action to transform people’s minds and hearts about the place people with disabilities have in society. His life was then dedicated to using the law as an advocacy tool for the disability movement.

In Jeff’s current position as the General Counsel and Vice President of Governmental Affairs he directs the legal affairs of Snap Video Relay Services [www.snapvrs.com], maintains its operations within the scope established by law and supervises outside counsel. He also develops and implements Snap!VRS' legislative and governmental strategies, as well as manages external relations with key audiences including federal agencies, Congress and consumer organizations. Video relay services, through which deaf and hard of hearing people can engage in telecommunications using sign language and video interpreters, has been a ground-breaking model of how a civil rights law – Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act – has provided incentives for the private sector to competitively and innovatively provide services that accomplish the objective of functional equivalence in telecommunications.

As the General Counsel and Director of Policy of the National Council on Disability (NCD) [www.ncd.gov], Jeff helped the Council structure and carry out its policy and research work through three principal conceptual frameworks: The Civil Rights Monitoring Project, which evaluated and made recommendations for strengthening the federal implementation and enforcement of several major national disability rights laws; Investing in Independence, which involved several reports focusing on programs and policies supporting the independence of people with disabilities; and Livable Communities, a holistic approach to providing people with an environment to live and work as they choose. He also had the opportunity at NCD to lead its Righting the ADA project, which served as the foundation for the recently enacted ADA Amendments Act.

Jeff has been involved in community organizations of the disabled, authored articles on disability related issues and participated in hundreds of training and speaking opportunities involving people with disabilities on advocacy and their legal rights.

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