Mary L Breslin

Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)


Mary Lou has been a disability rights law and policy advocate for over twenty-five years. In 1979 she co-founded the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), the preeminent national disability rights law and policy center, and has served variously as DREDF's deputy and executive director, and president and chair of the board of directors. She is presently a senior policy advisor with DREDF directing the organization's special projects. During her career she has served as a policy consultant, trainer and lecturer on diverse disability and related civil rights topics. Ms. Breslin has taught graduate courses at the University of San Francisco, McLaren School of Business, and an undergraduate research seminar at the University of California at Berkeley. She also serves as editor and researcher with the Disability Rights and Independent Living Project of the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. In 2000, she directed From Principles to Practice, the first-of-its-kind international disability rights law and policy symposium attended by attorneys and policy advocates from fifty-eight countries. In 2002 Ms. Breslin received the prestigious Henry B. Betts award for improving the lives of people with disabilities. She also received the Paul A. Hearne Award from the Physical and Mental Disability Rights Committee of the American Bar Association in 2000, and a Mary E. Switzer Merit Fellowship in 1995.