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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

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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