Elver Ariza-Silva is very active in advocacy efforts for all people with disabilities, predominately those who are Latino in the District of Columbia. Originally from the Republic of Colombia, Elver is a polio survivor who since childhood had dreamed of living in the United States and pursuing a career in the International arena, Performing Arts, and Advocacy and Public Service. In his role as an Advocate, Elver gives support to siblings and parents in addition to providing services to people with disabilities by exploring the system and finding opportunities that make the most of their abilities. In the past 8 years, Elver has led the outreach program directed specifically to Latino families of a non-profit organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through his professional efforts and volunteer activities, Elver provides education and advocacy services to families who are completely alienated from any support or services because of their legal/immigration status in this country.
In other capacities, Elver has served as a research assistant for a Johns Hopkins University study that focused on preventing child trafficking from Latin American countries and has held leadership roles in the food industry [MS Food Engineering] in both Colombia and the US (Texas A & M University and The Institute of Food Technologist IFT). Currently, Elver is a member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Accessibility Advisory Committee, which advises the Metro on ways to improve Metrobus, Metrorail and Paratransit (Metro Access) services. Most recently, Elver has been reappointed by District of Columbia Mayor, Ms. Muriel Bowser, to serve on the Statewide Independent Living Council committed to enhancing the image, status, inclusion, and quality of life for all District of Columbia residents, visitors, and employees with disabilities.
Prior to this and back in his native country Elver decided to add in to his Food Industry Engineering career a different job experience: a “part-time” job back stage at a theatre company! This opportunity allowed him not only to travel around Colombia but the most important which was to discover passion and love for the performing arts. He is now on the stage rather than behind it! As a dancer, actor and choreographer Elver shares his different and creative way of performing. Elver has performed with The National Theater Workshop in Belfast, Maine, the Open Circle Theater, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion, and at American University, The Kennedy Center, The Dance Complex, and the Round House Theater, among others. Elver has also appeared in the Gold Remi Award Independent Short Film The Boomers.
Elver is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies at American University. Elver is very interested in the international leadership role empowering people who are advocating for opportunities of access to have a dignified life for “underserved community groups”, but mostly people with different abilities in other parts of the United States and in the world.