Susan Fitzmaurice, founder ILoveYouLead@gmail.com (1(248)956-0354/p>
Susan has been a disability advocate and activist most of her life. Her passion for disability rights began before she knew what they were. She read about Dorothea Dix, Helen Keller, and Jane Addams in third grade, and they became her mentors. On her 14th birthday she celebrated by beginning weekly volunteer work as a candy-striper at Plymouth State Home and Training School which she continued until graduation from high school. Her first degree was a BPh in Societal Realities from Thomas Jefferson College at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She then studied special education at Bank Street Graduate School in New York City, where she taught pre-school and 3/4 grade, directed a private nursery school, and ran an in-home day care.
She returned home to Michigan after adopting her son Teddy. She created a bookstore called “The Curious Child” and specialized in books for children with disabilities and their parents and caregivers. After a few years in England, she went to Syracuse University for degrees in rehabilitation counseling and disability studies. With degrees in hand, she returned again to Michigan and began a decade as the ADA Coordinator for the city of Dearborn. When that position ended, she began to work as the Accessibility Coordinator for VSA Michigan.
Throughout this time Susan has taken on a number of issues. She created an exhaustive sex resource on the web for people with disabilities. She created a website in response to the Katrina Hurricane that created an emergency resource page for people with disabilities for every state. For five years she organized the Reel Life Film Festival. She gathered over 1,500 signatures in Solidarity for AshleyX, a response she wrote to a parent’s choice to limit their significantly disabled child’s growth to keep them easier to physically manage. And in 2015, she organized the ADA Celebration in Detroit, where over 2,000 celebrated. She just completed organizing the 30th Anniversary ADA celebration held online via Zoom for nine weeks. Now, she is focused on I Love You, Lead On.