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Three women with disabilities

RespectAbility Launches Disability Inclusion Advocacy Training Series in New York City

Empowerment project for women and girls with disabilities and their allies features distinguished author Donna Walton, Ed.D.

New York City, Jan. 16 – A new training program aimed at empowering women with disabilities begins this month, bringing the lens of inclusion and equality to New York City’s civic life. RespectAbility, a national disability advocacy organization, will launch the Inclusion Advocacy Training Series in New York City on January 26, 2019, with the first of this monthly, six-part series. The series is made possible by funding from the New York Women’s Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation.

Donna Walton

Dr. Donna Walton

Intersectionality Among Women and Girls with Disabilities and Their Allies showcases author and inclusion expert Dr. Donna Walton, who will address critical issues impacting women and girls with disabilities in New York City. Dr. Walton has made an unprecedented impact in the disability and women of color communities through her leadership and her writing. She has a clear message for her fellow self-advocates and allies.

“I am more than just one leg. I am a woman. And I am a woman with a disability. Standing forthright in power unapologetically. So, when I show up, I show up authentically. In that space, consistently,” expressed Dr. Walton.

RespectAbility is dedicated to raising the voices, lives and experiences of New York City’s almost 500,000 women and girls with disabilities. Amidst one of the greatest cities in the world, a stunning 44 percent of New York women with disabilities live below the poverty line. Furthermore, in the city itself, only 29 percent of African American women with disabilities are employed, while only 24 percent of Latina women with disabilities have jobs.

“To change these outcomes,” Dr. Walton said, “New York women and girls with disabilities need new opportunities to make their voices heard, impact their communities and change the city for the better.”

Dr. Walton will be addressing a convening that brings together key organizations from across New York City. Collaborating organizations include: CUNY’s Guttman Community College, INCLUDEnyc, Girls for Gender Equity, L.O.V.E. Mentoring, Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Wheeling Forward, Youth Action Youth Build of East Harlem and the Self-Advocacy Association in NY State (SANYS).

The six-part series, running January through May, is designed for self-advocates and their allies, nonprofit professionals and community leaders. Five of the series’ trainings focus on various subgroups within the women’s disability community. One training (March 13) is tailored for New York City’s service providers working with women and girls who see the benefit of upskilling to better serve the 20 percent of women and girls with disabilities.

Critical topics covered in these trainings include disability disclosure, self-advocacy tools and opportunities for civic engagement, as well as professional advice for making organizations and events accessible.

“We are passionate about bringing intersectionality into our work, and into the nonprofit sector at-large,” said RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “That is why we are recruiting and training individuals with disabilities to share their knowledge, skills and contacts with funders, providers and organizations throughout New York City.”

All sessions in RespectAbility’s Inclusion Advocacy Training Series include:

  • Sat, Jan. 26, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Training for Intersectionality Among Women and Girls with Disabilities and Their Allies
    Location: Guttman Community College, Room 401, 50 West 40th St.
  • Feb. 24, 2019, 1:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.: Empowerment Training for Jewish Women with Disabilities
    Location: Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave.
  • March 9, 2019:  1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Training for Mothers of Students with Disabilities
    Location: Guttman Community College, Room 401, 50 West 40th St.
  • Wed., March 13, 2019: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Putting the “D” in Diversity: Enabling Foundations, Nonprofits and Partners to Include People with Disabilities
    Location: Guttman Community College, Room 401, 50 West 40th St.
  • April 6, 2019, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Training for Female College Students with Disabilities and their Allies
    Location: Guttman Community College, Room 401, 50 West 40th St.
  • May 18, 2019:  1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Training for Latina Women and Girls with Disabilities and their Allies
    Location: Guttman Community College, Room 401, 50 West 40th St.

For more information about RespectAbility’s ongoing New York City efforts, view:

The NYC training series aims to upskill and empower women and girls with disabilities, and their allies, to engage in New York City’s vibrant civic life as volunteers, board members and employees. Through these trainings, participants will be better prepared to bring the lens of inclusion and equality to this vital civic engagement work. Hence, they will help close the representational gap in participation and civic leadership for this generation and future generations.

Meet the Author

Debbie Fink

Debbie Fink is Director of Community Outreach & Impact for RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. In addition to this role, she was Project Director for the unprecedented Women’s Disability Leadership, Inclusion & Advocacy Series; and is responsible for RespectAbility’s Volunteer Corps and Jewish Inclusion Project. Ms. Fink brings more than 15 years of diverse leadership experience in public health, education and arts programming to serve RespectAbility’s mission. Fink has a lifetime commitment to enabling people with disabilities to have a better future and is passionate about the constructive impact volunteers can make in the world. To reach her, email [email protected]

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