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Past Events

Election 2020: Candidate Outreach to Voters with Disabilities

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With the 2020 election just weeks away, candidates and campaigns are scrambling to reach persuadable voters and earn their vote. Researchers at Rutgers University estimate there are 38.3 million voters with a disability eligible to vote this November. From former Vice President Biden to candidates in down-ballot races at the state level, political candidates are reaching out to voters with disabilities and talking about the issues that matter most to them.

Featuring speakers from the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and RespectAbility as well as self-advocates from the community, watch a fascinating discussion about what campaigns and candidates have been doing to reach out to the disability community. [continue reading…]

Webinar: Ensuring Authentic Representation of Hispanic and Latinx Disabled People in the Entertainment Industry

Authentic representation of marginalized populations on screen is vitally important as what people view on screen influences how they act in real-life. This Hispanic Heritage Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), we were proud to spotlight Hispanic and Latinx individuals with disabilities who are changing the landscape in the entertainment industry. [continue reading…]

Lunch & Learn in our Virtual Sukkah

Sukkot commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert on their way to the Promised Land and celebrates the way in which God protected them under difficult desert conditions. In this time of COVID-19 we too are experiencing the need for shelter at a difficult time. Yet, many of us do not have the ability to build a physical Sukkah even ritually “dwell” in one this year. We came together and built a Virtual Zoom Sukkah.

Join RespectAbility for a virtual lunch and learn, with a twist. Everyone is encouraged to use either a virtual backdrop or something that they can hold up to the camera to help build our Virtual Sukkah together. [continue reading…]

Webinar: Example of Best Practice: DreamWorks’ Madagascar: A Little Wild

Pickles and Dave in a scene from Madagascar A Little Wild communicating via ASLHave you seen DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar: A Little Wild on Hulu or Peacock TV yet? RespectAbility board member Delbert Whetter, along with Jevon Whetter and Justin Maurer, consulted on this series, which includes a deaf character who uses sign language; the character’s sister also signs. Chimpanzee siblings Dave and Pickles are breaking barriers and are part of a movement changing the landscape of disability representation in children’s television and streaming content. Dave and Pickles have a meaningful story arc throughout the entire series and Dave is not defined by his deafness. Learn from the team’s ASL consultants as well as Executive Producer Johanna Stein, Co-Executive Producer and Story Editor Dana Starfield and Supervising Director TJ Sullivan on how these teams worked together to bring about dynamic deaf characters.

“When it comes to animation, there’s no excuse not to create a show filled with diverse characters. As animators we are world builders, we are literally creating all of the elements from scratch,” said EP Johanna Stein. Learn More: “Madagascar: A Little Wild” Takes Deaf Representation to the Next Level. [continue reading…]

Webinar: Example of Best Practice: Disney Channel’s Big City Greens

Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-nominated series Big City Greens is breaking barriers when it comes to ensuring authentic deaf representation. In the “Quiet Please” episode, the Green family visits the city library hoping to find a book that will spark Cricket’s interest in reading, but they quickly run afoul of a strict, eerie librarian. Determined to keep the library a quiet place, she threatens to throw them out if they make any sound, so they must communicate through gestures and sign language. RespectAbility’s board member Delbert Whetter, along with Jevon Whetter and Justin Maurer, consulted on this episode, which premiered on Saturday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel. Learn from these ASL consultants as well as Big City Greens Creators/Executive Producers Chris and Shane Houghton on how these teams worked together to bring about authentic representation of ASL. [continue reading…]

Yom Kippur Virtual Break Fast

Date: Monday, September 28
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET / 9:30 p.m. CT / 8:30 p.m. MT / 7:30 p.m. PT

We came together to celebrate the bright possibility of this new year during a virtual Zoom break fast.

Bagels, lox, and other food eaten during a typical Break Fast for Yom Kippur

Webinar: Opening Your Virtual Gates: Accessibility During the High Holidays


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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many synagogues and communities of worship to move at least part of their high holiday services, if not all, to an online format. The Jewish world is spending significant time and energy determining how to create a meaningful, spiritual experience online, and we want to ensure it also is accessible to the one in five Jews with disabilities. The good news is that it is easy to make online services, and related events, accessible to everyone if you know how. This webinar will get you started.

Join the co-authors of RespectAbility’s High Holiday Toolkit for streaming services, entitled; “Opening Your Virtual Gates: Making Online High Holiday Celebrations Accessible to All.” We provided a working introduction to the resources available in the guide as well as a Q&A for audience members to get their questions answered about accessibility for virtual high holiday services. [continue reading…]

Training: “How to Ensure Legal Rights and Compliance Obligations”

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While our main focus is on doing inclusion right, at some point your organization may need to know little bit about its legal rights and obligations. This session will cover those topics, including the special sensitivities and limitations applying to religious organizations.

Panelists Include

  • Moderator: Matan Koch – Director of RespectAbility California and Jewish Leadership
  • Ariella Barker – Former RespectAbility Fellow
  • Robert “Bobby” Silverstein – Principal, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC
  • Matthew W. Dietz, Esq. – Litigation Director, Disability Independence Group, Inc.

[continue reading…]

Training: “How to Create and Implement Successful Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives”

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We shared how to take your deep commitment to Diversity and Inclusion and make it a reality. Learn from some truly successful leaders as they share the secret of their Diversity and Inclusion success, exploring the successful disability initiatives of which they’ve been apart, and looking at their intersection with other initiatives in the diversity space, including LGBTQ+ and beyond.

Panelists Include

  • Moderator: Linda Burger, MSSW – RespectAbility Board of Directors Treasurer and Jewish Family Services Houston
  • Dorsey Massey, LMSW – JCC Manhattan
  • Sally Weber, LCSW – Program Consultant

[continue reading…]

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