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Hollywood Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion in Hollywood Breakfast

Date: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Time: 8:30 A.M. Breakfast was provided.
Location: Glendale, CA
Contact: Lauren Appelbaum, laurena@respectability.org or 202-591-0703

headshot of Jonathan Murray wearing a gray striped shirt and facing the camera color photo

Jonathan Murray

Jonathan Murray of Bunim/Murray hosted this breakfast conversation. Murray has created and executive produced some of the industry’s most diverse, innovative, unscripted, entertainment television programs including Emmy-winning Born This Way (A&E), which documents the lives of diverse young adults with Down Syndrome and their families. Murray serves on the Board of Directors for RespectAbility.

RespectAbility’s focus is on the inclusion of diverse people with disabilities within the entertainment industry. As such, we unveiled a new resource guide for disability inclusion. This toolkit is for entertainment professionals wishing to ensure they are as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible. Email laurena@respectability.org with questions or visit www.respectability.org/hollywood-inclusion to view the toolkit.

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From Washington to Hollywood and Beyond: The Future of Americans with Disabilities

Date: July 30, 2018, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Rayburn Building, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
There is no charge to attend this event.

Traveling from out of town? We have secured a room block at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill: 400 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20001. Reservations must be made by July 6, 2018 in order to receive the reduced rate: https://book.passkey.com/go/Respectability2018.

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Deborah Calla Serves as Role Model for Inclusion During  Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month

Deborah Calla smiling for the camera

Deborah Calla

Rockville, Md., Feb. 16 – Deborah Calla is a Brazilian-born producer, writer and director. Calla is best known in the disability community for reviving the Media Access Awards (MAA). Her involvement in the disabilities movement and social justice stem from two sources: her professional experiences in Hollywood and her Judaism.

Calla came to film and TV by chance. A friend of a friend thought that because she directed and produced plays, she would be a good film producer, so he asked her to produce his first film.

“It was a very trying experience as I didn’t really know what I was doing and producing film can be an overwhelming effort especially if you have no experience,” Calla said. “In the end, I survived and loved it.”

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“Spectrum: A Story of the Mind” – ReelAbilities Film Fest Preview

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Congregation Har Shalom: 11510 Falls Rd, Potomac, MD 20854

RespectAbility, in partnership with Congregation Har Shalom, is proud to present the acclaimed film “Spectrum: A Story of the Mind” on Tuesday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. in a sneak-peek preview event for the 2018 ReelAbilities Film Festival of Northern Virginia, which is organized by the Jewish Community Center of Northern VA.

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Grey’s Anatomy: “I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder… but it is not my story.”

Chandra Wilson in costume as Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Miranda Bailey

Chandra Wilson as Dr. Miranda Bailey

Grey’s Anatomy has never been a show to shy away from social commentary. In the era of #MeToo and the focus on gender inequality, Dr. Miranda Bailey (played by Chandra Wilson) fights for herself when she is having a heart attack – and shatters stigma against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

OCD is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Bailey, a Chief-of-Surgery, is at another area hospital with symptoms of a heart attack. The doctor treating her, Dr. Maxwell, does not believe she is and instead asks about emotional and mental stressors in her life. While there are many, Bailey is adamant she truly is having a heart attack – and is correct. But Dr. Maxwell continues to refuse the cardiac stress test that she requests.

The interactions between Bailey and Maxwell illustrate how women and men often are treated differently by medical professionals. Bailey is not only belittled as a woman but also when she discloses she has a disability. She shares that she is taking statins and anti-depressants to manage her OCD.

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Deafblind Lawyer Haben Girma Advocates for Disability Rights

headshot of Haben Girma wearing a blue dress and pearls

Haben Girma

Haben Girma has been advocating for herself since she attended elementary school in Oakland. She became the first Deafblind person to graduate from law school when she earned her degree from Harvard Law School in 2013. She is a civil rights attorney who advocates for disability rights, a public speaker who travels the country changing people’s perceptions of the disability community in the media and has been featured in Forbes “30 Under 30” and on NBC and NPR.

In 1983, five years before Girma was born, her mother Saba Gebreyesus fled Eritrea, a city in Africa with approximately six million people, taking two weeks to walk to Sudan and sleeping in trees “surrounded by hungry hyenas.” But she was determined to give Girma the opportunities her son wasn’t given; he also was born deafblind.

After her mom settled in California, Girma was born in Oakland in 1988. In elementary school, she learned Braille and later used a Bluetooth keyboard hooked up to a Braille reader to communicate with others. At school, she gained access to the materials she needed to be able to learn. She credits her supportive teachers and classmates, accessible materials such as interpreters and other accommodations, and developed study skills and homework strategies for her success.

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Actress with Cerebral Palsy Diana Elizabeth Jordan is Veteran of 40 Shows, Shorts and Movies

Diana Elizabeth Jordan smiling in front of a tree

Diana Elizabeth Jordan

Diana Elizabeth Jordan, an award winning actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.

“There have been plenty of times in my life where I haven’t felt positive but I try my best to let the positive outweigh the negative and I think my faith in God has a lot to do with that,” said Jordan.

Jordan has cerebral palsy, which mildly affects her speech and gait. She has been acting professionally since she graduated from college. She began her career working in Chicago Theater. She also was the first actor with a disability to obtain Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from California State University Long Beach in 2001.

Since beginning her career, Diana has built an impressive list of over 40 credits in theater, film and television including her first T.V. guest star role on The WB’s 7th Heaven in 2004. The majority of roles she has been cast in have not been disability specific. It has always been important to her to be cast in roles where her disability is incidental to the character or storyline.

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Murphy Learns a Lesson in Discrimination

Rockville, Md., Jan 29 – The title of the 13th episode, “Seven Reasons,” is in reference to why Dr. Shaun Murphy thinks people lie. Themes include intellectual disability, ethics and religion.

Freddie Highmore, the actor who plays Murphy, portrays a person with autism, a developmental disability that affects 1 in 68 children. Many people with autism experience social and communication issues. Throughout the episode, Murphy talks in a robotic tone, talks about a subject obsessively, misunderstands social cues and avoids eye contact.

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Dr. Shaun Murphy Evolves, Becomes More Independent, on The Good Doctor

While Dr. Glassman serves as Dr. Murphy’s mentor, now that Murphy is a successful adult, how involved should Glassman be in his personal life?

Rockville, Md., Jan. 22 – The mid-season premiere of The Good Doctor opens with Dr. Shaun Murphy running away from conflict based on what his mentor Dr. Aaron Glassman believes is best for him, which includes seeing a therapist.

Prior to the season break, Glassman introduced Murphy to Melissa Born, a therapist. Murphy previously had rejected a life skills coach because she could not “select a complimenting wardrobe.”

“I can’t always be there,” Glassman argued. “I can’t always help you the way you deserve to be helped.”

But Murphy responded emphatically, “I don’t want a stranger helping me.”

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The Fosters Tackles Low Expectations for Students with Disabilities

Images of the characters from The Fosters with the text: The Fosters, Freeform

The Fosters

Rockville, Md., Jan. 20 – Season five of The Fosters returned with a bang – tackling issues from low expectations for students with disabilities to immigration rights.

Last season one of the leading characters, Jesus, had a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The show did a good job conveying how a person might change after experiencing a TBI. The show also shares how TBI affects the relationships between family and friends for people who have a TBI.

On the first day back at school this season, his teachers have lower expectations for Jesus, giving him less homework and more flexibility with test taking. He also is made fun of by his classmates, one saying he wished he had been hit in the head to receive the “benefits” Jesus is getting.

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