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From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities
Featuring Leah Daniels-Butler, Casting Director and Producer, Tommy Morrissey, the One-Arm Golfer, and Marc Summers of The Food Network

Rockville, Md., July 28 – RespectAbility invites you to our free one-day summit, From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, geared toward bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. This entirely accessible event is open to the public.

The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.


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

Leah Daniels-Butler

Leah Daniels-Butler
Daniels-Butler is a casting director and producer most notable for securing talent for both blockbuster and award-winning films like “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Lee Daniels, The Butler” and 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. 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.

Tommy Morrissey, who has just one arm, golfing wearing blue shorts and a red collared shirt and baseball cap

Tommy Morrissey

Tommy Morrissey, One-Arm Golfer
Morrissey was born without most of his right arm but at the age of three was deemed a golf prodigy and today, at the age of six, travels the world advocating for other limb different children. After many national television documentaries, two features in Golf Digest Magazine and a robust social media following, Morrissey uses his platform to help other children get the help they need to fulfill their dreams just as he has.

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

Marc Summers, Television Host
Currently hosting the longest running show on Food Network, “Unwrapped,” some will remember him as the former Host/Producer of Nickelodeon’s “Double Dare” and “What Would You Do?” He also is the Executive Producer of Restaurant Impossible on the Food Network. In October, a new documentary about his life called On Your Marc will be released. Summers has been the National Spokesperson for The Obsessive Compulsive Foundation, has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show and Dateline discussing the issue, and wrote a book, Everything in Its Place: My Trials and Triumphs with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Additional Speakers Include:

  • Ollie Cantos, U.S. Department of Education (Invited)
  • Eleanor Clift, author of Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment (Turning Points in History) and Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics
  • Sneha Dave, Chronic Illness and Disability Advocate
  • Stanley B. Greenberg, Ph.D., Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
  • Calvin Harris, The Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President, RespectAbility
  • Meg O’Connell, The Poses Family Foundation
  • Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune
  • Brilynn Rakes, Visually Impaired Dancer
  • Gerard Robinson, AEI
  • Jennifer Sheehy, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
  • Steven James Tingus, Entertainment Inclusion Consultant
  • Donna Walton, Divas With Disabilities Project and author of Shattered Dreams, Broken Pieces

WHAT: From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities
WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2168 (Gold Room), Washington, D.C.
WHEN: Monday, July 31, 2017, 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (ET)

GENERAL CONTACT: Christopher Trujillo, [email protected], 202-748-3582
MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Appelbaum, [email protected], 202-591-0703

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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