Mr. Adonis Tovorris Brown, MBA/OLD/HCA
DisABILITY Rights & Full-Inclusion Activist/Advocate
I am the eldest of seven children born to Isaac (Son) and Hilda Mae Brown, both deceased. I was born and raised in New Bern, North Carolina. Despite the severity of my birth defect (and the standard of the time, institutionalization) I grew up at home with my siblings and received a public education. I attended the Cedar Street Recreation Center’s Kindergarten Program and when I was of age went on to first through eighth grade at West Street Elementary School. I graduated from New Bern Senior High School in June of 1973. The fall of 1973 to the spring of 1975 I attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. All these early stages of my life development took place before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) formerly the Education for all Handicapped Children Act of 1975, or the Rehabilitation Act. Despite the barriers, stigmas, and narrow thinking of that time I persevered. In April 2010 I completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Ashford University (AU) in Clinton, Iowa online degree program. I later went on to continue my education endeavors completing the required studies for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree with Specializations in Organizational Leadership and Health Care Administration in July 2013 from AU. What I may lack in paid work experience I more than compensate with my drive, passion, and determination to succeed.
I have dedicated my life to the ideals of independent living, community inclusion, and socioeconomic and political empowerment of persons living with disabilities. From the spring of 2001 thru 2009 I served on the Durham Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities. In January 2002 I was unanimously elected as the new 2nd Chair of the committee, and from 2004 – 2009 served as its 1st Chair. Through my leadership we established Durham’s first MCPD Office/Disability Resource Center in City Hall, published our first official newsletter, and I led the committee to greater focus on the disability community.
In November 2015, I was unanimously elected to the First In Families of North Carolina (FIFNC) Board of Directors to add my drive, leadership, and experience to their ranks. I have served as a Council Member on the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) since July 2007, in many leadership roles. I currently serve the Council as a Co-Vice Chair. Just recently, at the 2015 National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) Conference in Sparks, Nevada I was elected to its Board of Directors, and recognized as a new member to its National Self-Advocate Leadership Circle. For a brief period I served as President of the Association of Self-Advocates of North Carolina (ASANC) in 2006 which led to my current appointment to the Board of Directors of The Arc of North Carolina (The Arc of NC) where I currently serve as President.
Prior to July 1, 2007 the Protection and Advocacy System Administrators (P&A) for persons with disabilities in North Carolina were the Governor’s Advocacy Council for Persons with Disabilities (NC GACPD), a state administered agency. This arrangement hindered the P&A from truly doing its job so there was a driving force in the developmental disabilities and mental health communities and professional supporters for redesignation of the P&A to an independent non-profit law and advocacy organization. In 2005 the GACPD approved a demonstration grant to design a non-profit statewide disability representative board, so the Disability Rights Center of North Carolina (DRC-NC) was established and I was elected president and chief administrative officer by its members. As President/CAO I represented the organization in all official capacities; attending many GACPD board’s meetings and NCCDD council’s meetings, and other venues across the state.
Early in the spring of 2007 I and Adele Foschia, VP began meeting with John Rittelmeyer and the board president of Carolina Legal Assistance (CLA) to begin negotiating how to unify the DRC-NC Board with CLA. Later, I and Adele were elected to the Board of Directors of Carolina Legal Assistance, beginning the unification process. Effective July 1, 2007 CLA was officially appointed by Governor Easley to become the new P&A for persons with disabilities in North Carolina. Soon thereafter CLA changed its name to Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) and the rest is history. In December, 2013 I and other founders rotated off the DRNC Board, which I truly miss serving on.
I am also an entrepreneur; though I have a Masters Degree in Business Administration MBA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, as an individual with a noticeable severe developmental disability, as well as being an older more senior person job opportunities are not knocking my door down. As with most persons having DD I have to create my own opportunities. I am the founder and sole-proprietor of EnVisioned Empowerment, LLC (a registered Limited Liability Company in the state of NC). Through EnVisioned Empowerment, LLC I promote socioeconomic empowerment, justice, equality, independent/interdependent living, and community and workforce inclusion and equal opportunities.