RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2021
Tameka Citchen-Spruce has a strong passion for disability advocacy and media. It started at 21 years old, as Ms. Wheelchair MI 2006. As Ms. Wheelchair MI, she spoke out about supporting women with disabilities who are being abused. Two years later she formed Women Empower Inc, its mission was to empower women with disabilities to live their best lives. Later she studied Broadcast Television and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Oakland University.
Tameka has been advocating for over 15 years for access to affordable and accessible housing, fighting against voting oppression towards people with disabilities, racial and gender injustices, and health equity.
Because of the combination of her journalism knowledge, and activism she learned the importance of telling a person’s story. Her short film, Justifiable Homicide, has been nominated and won an award and her My Girl Story documentary has been selected for film festivals.
Besides film, she’s a community organizer for Warriors on Wheels of Metro Detroit. A facilitator for Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. And a Program Assistant and chairperson of the Inclusive Health Committee for Beaumont Health, Healthy Dearborn.
She has been selected for numerous fellowships Americorp, Public Allies of Metro Detroit, Michigan Disability Rights Coalition’s LEAD program and Detroit Equity Action Lab at Judge Damon Keith’s Wayne State University Law Center. She’s a proud member of the National Black Disability Coalition.
Another important role of Tameka’s life is being a wife and mother of two young children.
After an extensive search and interview process, 30 individuals were invited to participate in RespectAbility’s Summer 2021 Lab for Entertainment Professionals. This 8-week, 24-session virtual summer Lab series for people interested in – and with experience in – development, production and post-production, including careers as writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, animators and other production roles, will take place June 22 – August 12, 2021. Participants include diverse people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health and other disabilities. This Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award. Learn more: www.respectability.org/respectability-la-lab.
This program, which continues building the talent pipeline of young professionals with disabilities looking to work behind the scenes, is made possible with support by:
- Platinum Sponsors: Murray/Reese Foundation, The Harnisch Foundation, Pop Culture Collaborative, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company
- Gold Sponsors: A&E and Final Draft
- Silver Sponsors: NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS