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

Julie Lun, Policy Fellow

National Leadership Program, Fall 2017

Respectability fellow Julie Lun smiling in front of the Respectability banner

Julie Lun

Julie Lun is a Public Policy and Employment Fellow in RespectAbility’s National Leadership Program. She is a senior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and is 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 fellowship with RespectAbility, Lun will 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

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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