When Alicia Munson graduated from the University of St. Thomas, it was the height of the recession. She wanted to spend her career working with vulnerable communities. Munson went to work with Opportunity Partners (OP), a nonprofit that provides job training, employment, and residential support to people with disabilities. “On the first day of orientation,” Munson says, “the Chief Operating Officer said, ‘If you’re here to take care of people, the door is right there.’ That shifted my perception. Being a provider is about supporting an entire movement.”
Munson’s cousin and friend, Annie, lives with Down Syndrome. Munson went on to create a self-advocacy group, the Committee of Advocacy and Leadership (C.O.A.L.). She serves as Public Policy Director at The Arc Minnesota. The non-profit promotes the human rights and holistic inclusion of people with disabilities.
As the child of feminists, Munson adds, “I was never told that there are only certain things that a woman can do. We never talked about what Annie, as a woman living with Down Syndrome, could not do — only what she could do.”