Class of 2019

Katherine Perez profile photo

Katherine Perez

The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, & Innovation

“As a professor and director of a disability center, I feel like I’ve come full circle since those days when I was a student and budding activist. Even if it may be that I have more experience or knowledge on a subject, I always consider those I am mentoring my equals and future colleagues. Pretty often I come across people who I know will by far surpass any impact I’ve had, and I’m just honored that I got to play a small role in their development.”

We are proud to induct Katherine Perez into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Katherine hails from Los Angeles and is the proud granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. She identifies as a queer disabled Latina and was the first in her family to graduate from college. She holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law, is a member of the California Bar, and is currently a PhD Candidate in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was the co-founder of the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities where she brought together disabled Latinxs from across the country and led initiatives in policy, research, community building and activism for four years.

Katherine is currently the inaugural Executive Director of The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation. In 2019, she created The Coelho Center Law Fellowship Program, which is the first program of its kind to specifically train and mentor disabled individuals interested in attending law school. Katherine believes in creating a strong pipeline of law students with disabilities to go on and serve as attorneys, judges and politicians.

Katherine writes and speaks on a number of issues including the intersections of disability with immigration and the criminal justice system, mental illness, and the representation of disability in Hollywood and media. She was recognized by the American Association for People with Disabilities in 2017 with the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leadership Award. She also teaches Critical Disability Law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.