About the 2019 Keynote Speakers
Artist of the spoken word, Advocate for people with disabilities, and Ambassador to all.
Diagnosed with a learning disability in the third grade, LeDerick Horne defies any and all labels. He’s a dynamic spoken-word poet. A tireless advocate for all people with disabilities. An inspiring motivational speaker. A bridge-builder between learners and leaders across the U.S. and around the world. An African-American husband and father who serves as a role model for all races, genders, and generations.
The grandson of one of New Jersey’s most prominent civil rights leaders, LeDerick uses his gift for spoken-word poetry as the gateway to larger discussions on equal opportunity, pride, self-determination and hope for people with disabilities. His workshops, keynote speeches, and performances reach thousands of students, teachers, legislators, policy makers, business leaders, and service providers each year. He regularly addresses an array of academic, government, social, and business groups, including appearances at the White House, the United Nations, Harvard University, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education, the Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Alabama State Departments of Education. His work addresses the challenges of all disabilities, uniting the efforts of diverse groups in order to achieve substantive, systemic change.
From 2003 to 2012, LeDerick served as the Founding Board Chair of Eye to Eye (eyetoeyenational.org), the only national nonprofit mentoring program for students labeled with LD / ADHD, and continues to serve on the board today. He is on the advisory board for The National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-determination and Employment (RAISE) Technical Assistance Center (www.raisecenter.org), and he is a Senior Consultant for The Center for School Climate and Learning.
In 2016, he and co-author Margo Vreeburg Izzo, PhD, The Ohio State University, released the book Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success — the definitive compendium on transition support for students with LD / ADHD and other hidden disabilities — published by Brookes Publishing Co.
He has released two spoken-word poetry albums (Rhyme Reason and Song in 2005 and Black and Blue in 2011) and co-created New Street Poets, a spoken-word play about the effect of gentrification on urban culture. The play received considerable acclaim including accolades at the New York City International Fringe Festival and toured extensively throughout the U.S.
LeDerick has earned a BA in Mathematics with a Fine Arts minor from New Jersey City University and also studied Mathematics at Middlesex County College. His poetry is available on iTunes and YouTube, and you can learn more about him at lederick.com. To book LeDerick for your group, organization, school, or event, please contact Keena Lundy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“LeDerick isn’t just a popular speaker on disabilities in the country today—his experiences have been transformed into a very touching message of how labels and low expectations can hurt children, but also about how the care and concern of one adult can make all the difference. Whether he’s encouraging others with stories from his own personal journey, helping to inform policy discussions, providing hope for those who have lost hope, or fostering a better understanding of the potential within all people with disabilities, LeDerick is an invaluable source of inspiration and leadership.”
–Melody Musgrove, Former Director, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized.
Ms. Lehrer’s work has been seen in venues including the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, the United Nations, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum.
Awards include the 2017 3Arts MacDowell Fellowship for writing, 2015 3Arts Residency Fellowship at the University of Illinois; the 2014 Carnegie Mellon Fellowship at Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges; the 2009 Prairie Fellowship at the Ragdale Foundation. Grants include the 2009 Critical Fierceness Grant, the 2008 3Arts Foundation Grant, and the 2006 Wynn Newhouse Award for Excellence, (NYC), as well as grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the University of Illinois, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Her memoir, entitled “Golem Girl,” will be published by the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House, in early 2020. Ms. Lehrer is represented by Regal Hoffman & Associates literary agency, NYC.
Ms. Lehrer is on faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and instructor in the Medical Humanities Departments of Northwestern University and University of Illinois at Chicago.