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“Empire” Casting Director Leah Daniels-Butler Confirmed to Speak at RespectAbility Summit

head shot of Leah Daniels-Butler wearing a blue collared blouse

Leah Daniels-Butler

Rockville, Md., July 13 – Leah Daniels-Butler, “Empire” casting director, will be speaking at RespectAbility’s summit From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities.

Daniels-Butler is a casting director and producer most notable for launching the careers of gifted actors like Best Actress Nominee Gaborey Sidebe, star of the Academy Award winning film “Precious,” securing talent for both blockbuster and award-winning films like “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Lee Daniels, The Butler” and as Casting Director for television’s #1 show, “Empire.”

Her ongoing commitment to championing the inclusion and representation of diverse acting casts of color, gender and ability has guided her career path to being appointed a National Board Director for the Casting Society of America, spearheading the CSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Steven James Tingus wearing a black suit and blue tie seated in his wheelchair outside

Steven James Tingus

Daniels-Butler dedicates her time to helping shape the second chance futures of women in her community as Board Director for “A New Way to Life ReEntry Project,” an organization that provides housing and support to formerly incarcerated women in South Central Los Angeles.

RespectAbility Board Member Steven James Tingus will be introducing Daniels-Butler. A national expert on disability, aging and healthcare policy, he currently is advocating for diversity and inclusion within the entertainment industry. Tingus has worked with Daniels-Butler on disability inclusion in her casting work in Hollywood and helped develop a successful summit on disability inclusion with SAG-AFTRA last year.

The RespectAbility summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

Daniels-Butler and Tingus join ten speakers who have previously been announced:

Location: Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. Tickets are free but spaces are extremely limited and RSVPs are required.

How can I request accommodations?
ADA seating, live captioning and ASL interpreters will be provided. Please let us know in advance if you need other accommodations.

More Information and RSVP: http://bit.ly/July31DC.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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