RACHEL ARFA

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Commissioner

Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Rachel Arfa was appointed Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) by Mayor Lori Lightfoot. As the 4th MOPD Commissioner for the City of Chicago, she is the first person who is deaf to serve in this role, and likely the highest-ranking deaf person in local government nationwide. Prior to this role, Rachel was a staff attorney at Equip for Equality (EFE) for nearly a decade representing clients with disabilities in employment discrimination and civil rights violations.

Rachel is the President of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Bar Association and in December 2019, made the motion using spoken language and ASL for 10 deaf and hard of hearing attorneys to be admitted to the United States Supreme Court Bar. Rachel served as the Accessibility Lead for the Women’s March Chicago, developing expansive accessibility for large scale gatherings. Rachel serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium and the Board of Directors for 3Arts, which supports artists of color, women artists, and artists with disabilities. She is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2016), Member of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, and a past Fellow of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership (2017) and the New Leaders Council (2013). She is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A., American Culture) and the University of Wisconsin School of Law (J.D.).

Areas of Expertise: Legal, Public Policy

Interests: Arts & Culture, Disability Rights, Government