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“Taco Tuesday” Shows the Importance of Using Superpowers for Good

Group photo of the cast and crew behind Taco Tuesday, with John Lawson lying on the floorLos Angeles, CA, April 22 – Each year, John Lawson looks forward to participating in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, assembling a team of disabled actors and filmmakers working alongside allies to create a short film in less than a week.

Filmmakers are given a theme to focus on in their projects, and the theme of this year’s challenge was to create a superhero film. Taco Tuesday opens with dramatic music, showing a sibling pair played by Jamie Brewer and Jay Disney rushing to stop a deadly crime.

Amelia (Brewer) has the ability to see into the future. She chooses to use her superpower to fight crime. Brewer is a young woman with Down syndrome best known for her roles in the FX horror anthology television series American Horror Story. She also appeared in the first music video starring actors with Down syndrome, Delta Spirit’s What’s Done is Done.

As her brother Arthur (Disney) states, Amelia chooses to use her abilities to honor the memory of their mother by fighting crime, instead of using it for her own advantage. “She doesn’t need a cape to fight crime,” he says.

Lawson, who served as director, one of two producers, and colorist, of Taco Tuesday, has been an active member of the disability community after becoming an amputee in 1987. He is a 2019 RespectAbility Entertainment Lab alumnus, who also has served as a mentor for every cohort of the Lab since.

The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge awareness campaign takes place April 16-25, and audiences are asked to like, share, or comment on the more than 90 films throughout the campaign to spread disability awareness.

Watch Taco Tuesday on Facebook and YouTube.

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 [email protected]

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