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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Julie Lun, Policy Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Fall 2017

Respectability fellow Julie Lun smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Julie Lun

Julie Lun was a Public Policy and Employment Apprentice in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. As of 2017, she was a senior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and was studying criminal justice with a concentration in violence. Lun is a first-generation college student and understands the importance of nonprofits and advocacy.

Her parents immigrated to Lowell, Massachusetts after the Cambodian genocide. With the support of local community organizations, Lun’s parents built a simple life in the United States. She describes growing up in Lowell as tough because her parents worked a great deal, and there was constant pressure from gangs and drug problems throughout the city. However, youth programs like Teen Block and GEAR UP helped her focus on her education to become the second person in her family to graduate high school, and the first to attend college. Lun credits her accomplishments to the nonprofits and advocacy programs that supported her. As a result, she wants to help other people rise above their own adversities to reach their goals and achieve independence.

Lun became interested in the disability community when she realized the topics covered in the classroom did not include people with disabilities. For example, in her victimology class, she recounts learning about different types of victims such as women, older adults, minorities and the LGBTQ community, but not learning about people with disabilities. She concluded that people with disabilities did not have support in the criminal justice system. Lun wants to learn more about the disability community and how she can help them reach their goals. After her Apprenticeship with RespectAbility, Lun planned to finish her undergraduate degree and continue her education to obtain graduate certificates in victims’ studies and leadership policy development and a Master’s degree in criminal justice.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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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 LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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