Updated: Apr 3, 2022
On January 23, friends, family, community ambassadors, business leaders, city and county officials, and philanthropists all came together at the UC Theater in Berkeley to honor individuals who carry the legacy of one of our founders, Ed Roberts, in making the world more inclusive and accessible for everyone.
This year, we honored the advances made to represent people with disabilities in arts and the media better. RJ Mitte, Zach Gottsagen, Ali Stroker, Stephanie Thomas, and Jim Fousekis joined the ranks of past recipients, Senator Loni Hancock, Zona Roberts, and Hon. Thelton Henderson.
Ali Stroker is an actress and the first-ever person who uses a wheelchair to lead a Broadway show and be nominated for and win a Tony for her performance in Oklahoma!
RJ Mitte is best known for his role as Walter White, Jr. on Breaking Bad. He also started a successful anti-bullying campaign called “Cut the Bull” and served as a news correspondent for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for Channel 4 in the UK.
Stephanie Thomas is a Disability Fashion Styling Expert and the Founder and CEO of Cur8able, a business dedicated to the art and science of dressing with disabilities.
Zack Gottsagen starred in the hit independent film Peanut Butter Falcon, also starring Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson. For his performance, he was named one of the Associated Press’ Breakthrough Entertainers of the Year, the first actor with Down Syndrome to receive the award.
Jim Fousekis received our first ever Joan Leon Award for his time as head of the Friends of CIL in the 1980s and the time and effort he dedicated to securing TheCIL’s financial future with private funding.
Organizations such as Lyft, Uber, Kaiser Permanente, and the San Francisco Foundation all came together to support TheCIL’s mission and goals on Ed Roberts Day. All who attended enjoyed great food, great wine, a silent auction, and live music from the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. All proceeds raised during the event went towards funding TheCIL’s youth programs.
For more information about the recipients, recap photos, and stay up to date about future Ed Roberts Awards, visit EdRobertsAwards.org.