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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

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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