Michele Magar is the co-founder and Executive Director of RatifyNow, an organization advocating the ratification, implementation, and enforcement of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She is a civil rights lawyer and an award-winning national civil rights reporter.
After spending 14 years at Pacifica Radio's National News Bureau, National Public Radio, and as a print reporter specializing in civil rights coverage and legal affairs reporting, she went to law school. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1995, Ms. Magar represented worked as a staff attorney with legal aid and Protection & Advocacy(http://www.pai-ca.org/) agencies in the San Francisco area. In 2001 she began a private disability rights practice, and also continued her work as an investigative journalist.
Several years ago, Ms. Magar went to the United Nations to work with the International Disability Caucus and persuade delegates to write a strong and effective disability rights treaty. On March 30, 2007, the U.N. asked its members to sign the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and a record number of nations did so.
A few months later, she co-founded RatifyNow to provide multi-faceted support to grassroots advocates worldwide working to persuade their nations to ratify, implement, and enforce the treaty. From the RatifyNow web site:
As RatifyNow's Executive Director, my work is informed by my experience as a person with a disability, and my training as an attorney and an award-winning print and broadcast journalist. My family background and bi-cultural upbringing also contribute to my work: I was born in Egypt and came to the U.S. as a child when my family moved here as refugees to escape discrimination.
Working at the United Nations to help write the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities changed my life. It convinced me that people with disabilities can transcend geography, language, culture, class, and other divisions to collaborate together in an international cross-disability movement for equality and self-determination.
Although RatifyNow has and will continue to engage in a wide range of advocacy efforts to support the treaty, my personal goal is to work with others to spark and nurture indigenous disability rights movements in nations that have none, while simultaneously working to ensure that my own country ratifies the treaty.