A staff member who served in Gov. John Bel Edwards' Office of Disability Affairs has died from complications involving the coronavirus.
Gov. Edwards' office announced the death of 33-year-old April Dunn on Saturday night. Dunn, a senior coordinator in the Office of Disability Affairs, was described as a "tireless advocate for people with disabilities."
Dunn, who herself was disabled, began her advocacy work in 2013.
“On behalf of Donna and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April,” Edwards said. “She brightened everyone’s day with her smile, was a tremendous asset to our team and an inspiration to everyone who met her."
Edwards said Dunn helped improve the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities, working hard to advocate for herself and other members of the disability community. She served as the chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.
Over the years, Dunn has testified before the legislature in support of funding for additional home and community-based waiver services and other individual and family support services, according to a newsletter from the Office of Disability Affairs.
Dunn received a Champions of Equal Opportunity award for self-advocacy by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities at their annual conference in New Orleans last July. And in 2018, she appeared in a public service announcement with Edwards to promote diversifying the workplace.
"When I created the State As A Model Employer Taskforce, April told me how much she wanted to be part of it because of her struggles to find meaningful employment," Edwards said. "I was proud to have an advocate like April on the task force and on my staff. She set a great example for how other businesses could make their workforce more inclusive."