James Meadours has been a tireless advocate and powerful voice for the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live full lives in the community for decades. Throughout his career in self-advocacy, Meadours has earned a sterling reputation as an honest, energetic and bold speaker, often sharing his life experiences to highlight challenges people with I/DD face in our nation. He is a trail blazer, leader, and staunch defender of people with I/DD.
Perhaps Meadours’ most powerful and influential campaign of 2018 came during the production of the NPR series “Abused and Betrayed”, an in-depth examination of the incidence of sexual abuse and assault against individuals with disabilities across the country. As a long-time, energetic and candid advocate for individuals with I/DD who have experienced sexual assault, Meadours shared his personal experience and helped shed light on the fact that both men and women with disabilities face this form of abuse at higher rates than people without I/DD.
He has held various leadership positions within the disability rights field. He was President of People First of Oklahoma, and later served as a VISTA volunteer to strengthen the movement in Oklahoma. He was chair of the national organization Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) from 1999-2002. He was also recently appointed President of Texas Advocates, a statewide self-advocacy group in Texas.