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Zazel-Chavah O’Garra, MSW

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

Zazel Chavah O'Garra smiling headshot

Zazel Chavah O’Garra
Photo courtesy of Rick Guidotti, Positive Exposure 109

Zazel-Chavah O’Garra (she, her) is a brain tumor survivor, disability advocate, social worker, dancer, actress, model, and founder and artistic director of ZCO/DANCEPROJECT. O’Garra holds a Master’s degree in social work from Fordham University, and currently works with the Brain Injury Association of New York State and YAI/National Institute for people with disabilities.

O’Garra became a disabled artist 18 years ago. Having faith pushed her to “dance beyond a disability.” She shares the resurrection as a disabled artist by creating customized movements for persons with mixed abilities; demonstrating directly that physical challenges need not limit a passion for living a fulfilling life. Before founding the ZCO/DANCEPROJECT, Zazel established a thriving career in the performing arts. Her body of work included performances on the concert stage, Broadway, Off-Broadway, European Tours, national commercials and magazine publications. In fact, her modeling career included the covers of Essence Magazine.

In her free time, when not teaching or performing or working with clients, O’Garra enjoys travelling to her parents’ homeland in Montserrat, West Indies. When in Montserrat, O’Garra delights in visiting its beautiful beaches, marveling in the volcano observatory and eating the native cuisine. She is a fan of soccer, basketball and cricket and enjoys collecting unique African American artwork.

About RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau

RespectAbility’s National Disability Speakers Bureau offers diverse speakers with disabilities to teach about disability inclusion; and/or to offer their expertise in an array of topics, ranging from Art and Entertainment to Entrepreneurship, Education, Finance, Law, Psychology, Religion (of many faiths) and every vocation in between. Our Speakers Bureau and its divisions are expanding. If this is of interest to you or you know a professional with a visible or nonvisible disability who might be interested, you (or she/he/they) can email

Meet the Author

Eric Ascher

Eric Ascher is the Communications Associate for RespectAbility. He is responsible for supporting RespectAbility’s Vice President, Communications in developing and implementing advocacy efforts and communications of various types. Ascher manages RespectAbility’s social media channels, website and emails; organizes and develops webinars; and supervises Communications Fellows.

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