Assistant Professor and Reference Librarian Jorge Matos is working at the forefront of Disability Advocacy and Research. His contribution to the history of disability advocacy is praise-worthy, as is his representation at Eunice Kennedy Shriver 100: A Legacy for Inclusion celebration on Saturday, July 10, hosted by the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site and Friends of the JFK Birthplace are partnering with Special Olympics Massachusetts, and The Eunice Shriver Center at UMass Medical School, and the Brookline Interactive Group.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver 100: A Legacy for Inclusion marked the 100th anniversary of Mrs. Shriver’s birth and the program offered two panel discussions: one on Mrs. Shriver’s life and another on her legacy, featuring a heartfelt introduction by Mrs. Shriver’s son and longtime Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver.
Matos Valldejuli appeared in the first panel alongside Eunice Kennedy Shriver biographer and Professor of the Practice of Journalism at Brandies University Eileen McNamara, and Rosemary Kennedy biographer and Brandies WSRC Scholar Kate Clifford Larson. The panel was moderated by Allison C. Carey, Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Shippensburg University. The panel was presented by Senior Lecturer of the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University and Friends of the JFK Birthplace Program Board Member Seth Blumenthal.
Matos Valldejuli’s piece titled “The Racialized History of Disability Activism from the ‘Willowbrooks of this world,’” published on November 4, 2019 in The Activist History Review focuses on the disability and legal activism of the 1970s through the lens of racial and class disparities impacting African-Americans and Puerto Ricans with developmental disabilities and how parents of Color and self-advocates of Color played a fundamental role within the disability rights movement that fought to overhaul the care and confinement of those with psychiatric, developmental, and intellectual disabilities as institutionalized practice.
During the panel he tells of an unexpected visit to the Willowbrook State School in Staten Island by then New York Senator Robert Kennedy. The Senator’s surprise visit played a significant role in exposing the abuse and segregation found at Willowbrook that was a catalyst for future advocacy addressing systemic abuses across the developmentally and intellectually disabled community.
“I am incredibly proud of Professor Matos Valldejuli’s work. His research and humanistic approach to writing about such a painful chapter of New York City history is a tremendous contribution to the field of disability and social injustice. He reminds us that battles of justice are not a sprint but a life-long journey, as was Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s,” remarked Hostos President Daisy Cocco De Filippis.
Watch the full Eunice Kennedy Shriver 100: A Legacy for Inclusion program celebration here.
About Hostos
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change, transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. Hostos serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, and a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique "student success coach" program, which partners students with individualized guidance, is emblematic of the premier emphasis on student support and services.

Hostos offers 28 associate degree programs and 2 certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (HCAC) is one of the pre-eminent Latino arts centers of the northeast. The HCAC has distinguished itself for showcasing traditional art forms as well as emerging and internationally renowned artists.
Hostos Community College is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university serving more than 500,000 students at 25 colleges.