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Donna R. Walton

Dr. Donna R. Walton, Senior Advisor

headshot of Donna Walton her hair is tied back and she is wearing a pearl necklace and pearl earrings, and smiling at the camera, color photo

Donna R. Walton

Dr. Donna Rena Walton, Ed.D., is a Senior Advisor to RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Dr. Walton is consulting for our Women with Disabilities and Speakers Bureau. From 2017 to 2019, Dr. Walton served on RespectAbility’s Board of Advisors.

Walton is the author of her newly released book Shattered Dreams, Broken Pieces, an eye-opening tale of reinvention that chronicles the decades she spent working to rebuild her world through disasters, setbacks, trials, and tribulations after a dangerous form of bone cancer threatened her life-and forced the amputation of her left leg above the knee.

Founder and President of Divas With Disabilities, Inc., Dr. Walton has made an unprecedented impact in the disability and women of color communities as a hub for thoughtful discussion on issues, self-love, and shaping the perception of what “disability” looks like by promoting women of color through various media platforms.  Her work has increased access and inclusion opportunities in countless industries that have traditionally marginalized the participation of the women she represents.

Articles by or about Walton have been published in several publications, including The Sexuality and Disability Society Reader, inMotion MagazineBarbara Faye Waxman Fiduccia Papers on Women and Girls with Disabilities, Amplitude, Disability Quarterly among others; Shattered Dreams, Broken Pieces is her first book.  She also is producing a film documentary “Divas with Disabilities” that explores the lived experiences of African America women who live with physical disability in the United States.

Overcoming what Walton considers “triple jeopardy” to get where she is today, she continues to live by the motto “What’s a leg got to do with it?”

Dr. Walton earned her bachelor’s degree in 1979 from American University; a master’s degree in 1985 in Adult Education from Syracuse University; and, in 2005, a doctoral degree in Counseling from The George Washington University.

Meet our Staff

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s staff: https://www.respectability.org/about-us/meet-our-staff/.

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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