Our Goal is to bring technology equality to all

Some of the ways we have done that are through:

Launched disability zoom in the middle of the pandemic to be sure people with disabilities had information, sharing and support and could learn to use technology to overcome the isolation

Trained 3,000 people in PCP using online video conferencing platform

Temple research project on ID and Tech

National Study of significance on Beyond Tokenism published in six articles as a special edition of Inclusion AAIDD

Who Are We?

With a combined x number of years of advocacy and training people of disabilities, the founders of BlueFire Inc. have dedicated their lives in service of helping those who need it the most.

Dr. Mark Friedman

Dr. Mark Friedman teaches Disability Studies as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the City University of New York. He serves as a Subject Matter Expert in participant engagement to the National Center on Advancing Person Centered Practices and Systems. Dr. Friedman’s primary work has been helping people with disabilities gain a voice in their lives through self-advocacy and policy making and helping people move from large state institutions into community programs.

He is currently training online 3,500 Provider staff, families, Service Coordinators and people with disabilities on Person Centered Planning in Nebraska. He is the creator of Disability Zoom, an online support network of 1,500 professionals, staff and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities. Dr. Friedman’s work in Michigan has included statewide focus groups on Beyond Tokenism and a program evaluation of the Michigan Consumer Cooperative Program. He conducted the national study of Developmental Disability Councils, Protection and Advocacy agencies and University programs to identify the best practices to enhance the participation of people with developmental disabilities serving on boards, committees and policy-making entities. The study was funded by the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council and resulted in six articles published in a special edition of AAIDD’s Journal of Inclusion.

Dr. Friedman served as the first National Advisor to Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, the national self-advocacy organization and the state coordinator of Speaking For Ourselves, the award winning self-advocacy organization in Pennsylvania. He has provided training to Service Coordinators in three states and worked with ten state Self-Advocacy organizations. He is currently working with the Georgia Advocacy Office, Nebraska and Michigan DD Councils, the Administration on Community Living, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid and the National Museum on Disability Rights. Dr. Friedman received his doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the Union Institute and University. He has presented to audiences in 22 states, provided advocacy training in Ecuador and Kosovo, and authored thirteen publications. His work was recently highlighted in this New York Times article.

Dr. Ruthie-Marie Beckwith

Dr. Ruthie-Marie Beckwith is the former Executive Director of TASH, Inc. and a national consultant who helps people with disabilities develop and implement strategies for greater autonomy in their daily lives. She is the founder and principal partner of Blue Fire Consulting and provides consulting services across the United States in areas of self-determination, community organizing, leadership development, and self-employment.

Committed to grassroots approaches to empowerment and resource mobilization, she has served as the founder and Executive Director of the two statewide non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people with disabilities; The Tennessee Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, Inc. (TAMC) and People First of Tennessee, Inc. As the founder and director of TAMC, she conducted person centered planning sessions and trained PCP facilitators across the country.

She teaches advocacy and disability history at CUNY as Adjunct Faculty and has served as Adjunct Faculty at Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Special Education from George Peabody College and her B.S. degree from the State University of New York at Geneseo.