The White House has canceled plans for a series of regional disability conferences expected to take place this spring and summer, but the reason the meetings fell apart isn’t entirely clear.
Representatives from a number of disability advocacy groups were initially told about the events during a conference call with Obama administration officials in late January. At the time, preliminary plans were in place for meetings in nine cities across the country beginning in mid-March and extending into the summer, according to advocates who participated in the call.
Events were expected to be held in Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; Denver; Atlanta; Boston; Minneapolis; Orlando, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo.
However, no firm plans ever materialized for the conferences and none of the events took place. Now, advocates with knowledge of the situation say the White House has canceled all of the meetings.
It’s not known exactly why the conferences were nixed, but according to Chris Thomson, vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel at United Cerebral Palsy, speculation in the disability community is that the cancellations may have been prompted by concerns about protests at the events.
For their part, White House officials never publicly confirmed that the conferences were in the works. And when asked about the current status of the regional disability events, a spokesman would only say that the Obama administration “works with members of the disability community from around the country on a regular basis.”