Taciana assumes her position as Director of the New England ADA Center (NEADA) coming from the senior management team at the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL). At BCIL she served as Program Manager responsible for opening a satellite office in Dorchester and has been leading the organization’s antiracism efforts. She also oversaw the Information and Referral Department and worked with her team to increase outreach and services to Boston’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC) consumers.
Taciana led the team of community researchers in collaboration with the NEADA who developed the Participatory Action Research survey and interview tools to learn more about BIPoC consumers’ identity around disability, how much they know about their civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and what better methods could be used to share ADA information.
Taciana came to the United States as a young woman fleeing domestic violence with her then 2-year-old son, Cristian. She resettled in Northampton, MA where she pursued her studies in Social Thought and Political Economy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At UMASS Amherst she had the chance to study with renowned Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire. She moved to Boston to pursue work in organizing and welfare reform for many years. The shift to working with people with disabilities came after the tragic loss of her then-18-year-old son in 2004. Cristian was killed during a robbery at a local retail store where he worked after school.
Cristian’s tragic death propelled Taciana into action for changes to workplace safety regulations. She joined forces with teen leaders of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health and the Brazilian Immigrant Center. After conducting research on work conditions for teens at several Boston retail locations, they proposed several changes to workplace safety, training for teen employees, reduced work hour schedules, and proper supervision during night shifts. This legislation was signed into law by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2007 – the Child Labor Reform Act.
Taciana has devoted her life to fighting for social and economic justice for people of color and sees her current antiracism efforts as an extension of her life’s work. “I see the intersection of race and disability as crucial to creating a better society for all of us.” Taciana’s own struggles with mental health issues, and difficulties of getting a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, contributes to the urgency of her work.