Brew-Parrish, Valerie (1951-2014) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Valerie Brew-Parrish, born April 18, 1951 in Chicago passed away July 8, 2014 at the age of 63. She was born to Sydney W. and Bernice (Kennedy) Brew, and married Richard “Rick” Parrish with whom she had a daughter Tara Parrish. She was a disability rights activist and responsible for the drafting of important legislation related to disability issues. She was considered an expert in matters related to disability and housing.
Brew-Parrish obtained both her Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education (1974) and Master of Science Degree in Higher Education (1981) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. After graduating she was employed by Southern Illinois University Carbondale as the Associate Director of Placement for Students with Disabilities from 1976-1981; Professional Placement Consultant from 1981-1989; and Wellness Coordinator from 1990-1993. She was also a published author, editor, and columnist.
Some of her career highlights include: Illinois delegate to the First National White House Conference on the Handicapped in 1977; was the Outstanding Young Woman of America in 1980; was elected to be a board of director to the Indianapolis Resource Center on Independent Living in 1993. Memberships in professional organizations included American Association of People with Disabilities, American Council of the Blind, and National Federation of the Blind among others.