Self-Advocate Profile: DeShawn Robinson

By SourceAmerica Staff 06/08/2022
2022 Grassroots Advocate DeShawn Robinson


Everyone has a story. When self-advocates with disabilities share their personal experiences with lawmakers, co-workers, and the public, they help raise awareness about the importance of creating career opportunities for this talented – yet underemployed – segment of the workforce. Meet DeShawn Robinson!

As a self-advocate with a disability, DeShawn Robinson has a clear message for policymakers - “Give people with and without disabilities the opportunity to work. At the end of the day, we are all humans and can contribute and make a difference. People with disabilities have a place in society and they should have the opportunity to become great.”

DeShawn has been employed by Work, Inc. in Dorchester, Massachusetts for three years. He supports an AbilityOne® Program janitorial contract at a federal government facility in Boston. DeShawn enjoys his job because it lets him showcase his strong work ethic. After he finishes dusting and vacuuming offices, sanitizing the elevators, and cleaning up the day care center, he helps his colleagues and likes to “learn, observe, and get better” at his job.

DeShawn has a career dream to own his own business – a theater. He enjoys mentoring kids at a local theater program because he can help them learn to better express themselves. With his own theater, DeShawn says he could give back to people with and without disabilities, show what people are capable of, and spread the message that anything is possible.

One of the biggest challenges DeShawn has faced in his life is people looking at him like he isn’t capable. To overcome this, he has focused on any positive energy around him to prove the doubters that he does belong.

Like many other 2022 SourceAmerica® Grassroots Advocacy Conference attendees, DeShawn says his AbilityOne job has provided him independence. Now managing his money, taking care of himself, and travelling on the Boston T, he says he can “reach for the stars, because I know I can do it now.”

Want to learn more about advocating for career opportunities for people with disabilities? Email Advocacy@SourceAmerica.org or visit our Employment Advocacy webpage.