Disability Rights Washington’s (DRW) Breaking Barriers Awards recognize that together we can build an inclusive community. Change requires that we all contribute our unique assets, positions, and skills.

Each year since 2017, DRW presents these prestigious awards honoring community partners for breaking barriers to advance the rights of and improve the lives of people with disabilities in Washington State. Each year, awards have been presented to leaders in Business, Public Policy, and Advocacy. In special cases DRW also presents an Emerging Advocate and Lifetime Achievement Award.  Click here to see our past awardees.  

Photos from event: Image of someone signing a ballot with the word, "Vote" in white; Hosts, Helen and Mickey; Breaking Barriers Award Winners, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, Josh Galassi, Rochelle Bowyer, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO, Alejandro Grajal, Nathan Loose; Guest Speakers, Rachel and Nate Nemhauser; DRW Staff Attorney, Andrea Kadlec, and DRW Director of Advocacy, David Carlson.
Photos from 2020 event: Image of someone signing a ballot with the word, “Vote” in white; Hosts, Helen and Mickey; Breaking Barriers Award Winners, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, Josh Galassi, Rochelle Bowyer, Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO, Alejandro Grajal, Nathan Loose; Guest Speakers, Rachel and Nate Nemhauser; DRW Staff Attorney, Andrea Kadlec, and DRW Director of Advocacy, David Carlson.

We recognize that the disability rights movement is inseparable from the human rights movements for racial, economic, and gender equity. DRW understands that all types of oppression are interlocking and that prejudices which harm people with disabilities are compounded based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. Thus, our Breaking Barriers Awards also recognize efforts to address the harm experienced by that people who are multiply marginalized. 

This year, DRW will present one Breaking Barriers Award to an individual or entity. We have one application to submit a nomination. In that application, you can clarify whether you are nominating an individual or entity and provide a description of why the nominee should be recognized for advancing the rights of people with disabilities including people who are multiply marginalized. Nominees may include businesses, non-profit organizations, community groups, and individuals. All may be recognized for their efforts and achievements this past year, or for lifetime achievements. Individuals may be recognized for advocacy and/or public service as an elected official or public servant. Businesses can be recognized for progressive, creative employment practices, technological advances, and anti-stigma policies and practices. Nominees must be recognized for efforts and achievements that impact Washington State.   

The Breaking Barriers Award will be presented at our upcoming Breaking Barriers Event in October of 2021. 

Nominations are due by 5 PM on April 23, 2021.

Submit your nomination for DRW's Breaking Barriers Award.

  • Your Name * Required
  • Is the Nominee: * Required
  • Is the nominee recognized for: * Required
  • Is nominee recognized for contributions or advancements (may choose more than one): Required
  • *Intersectionality: the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intersectionality