Advocate for disabilities dies from COVID-19 complications

April Dunn, who was disabled, was a staffer for Gov. Edwards
April Dunn died due to complications from COVID-19. Governor John Bel Edwards announced her...
April Dunn died due to complications from COVID-19. Governor John Bel Edwards announced her death Saturday, March 28.(wafb)
Updated: Mar. 28, 2020 at 9:06 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - April Dunn, chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, died from Coronavirus complications this weekend at the age of 33.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced her death in a statement, describing her as someone who, “brightened everyone’s day with her smile,” and “worked hard as an advocate for herself and other members of the disability community.”

Dunn’s face was familiar around the capitol, where she frequently testified during budget hearings. Her own disability made her pleas especially powerful.

“April was the voice that we all needed,” Jamie Tindle, whose son lives with a disability, said.

Dunn worked with Edwards through the Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs. She served as a senior coordinator where she worked with businesses to make their workforce more inclusive.

Louisianans like Dunn are especially vulnerable to the new coronavirus, which can compromise weak immune systems.

“Take this seriously,” Tindle said, asking healthy people to heed the governor’s stay-at-home order and to practice social distancing. “Take it as if its life or death, because it is. We just lost somebody dear to us.”

Dunn was described as instrumental in the passage of Act 833 of 2014 which provides an alternative pathway to a diploma for individuals with disabilities.

Gov. Edwards asked the entire state to join him in prayer for April’s mother Joanette and her grandmother Gloria.

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