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Past Events

Animating Disability with Disney Junior’s Firebuds

Jazzy Jones in the animated series Firebuds.With one-in-five people having a disability in the U.S. today, the lack of representation – less than one percent in children’s television – means that millions of children are unable to see themselves in media today. Furthermore, when representation exists, a great deal of disability representation on screen is of white males. By introducing a female Black character who uses a wheelchair, Disney Junior’s Firebuds, which premiered Sept. 21 on Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney+, is ensuring that a population, which is often overlooked, is represented.

NDEAM Entertainment Media Summit: Disability: A Part of the Equity EquationSet in a fantastical world where talking vehicles live, work, and play with the humans who drive them, Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, who has muscular dystrophy, voices Jazmyn ‘Jazzy’ Jones, a young Black girl with spina bifida. Jazzy’s older brother Jayden is part of a group of first responder friends who help others in their community. Throughout the series, Jazzy is included in a variety of ways as Jayden’s younger sister, who drives a combination wheelchair and automobile.

Watch Lolo Spencer and series creator and executive producer Craig Gerber have a conversation with RespectAbility’s Lauren Appelbaum and Vanni Le, who worked with the team to ensure authentic disability representation in Jazzy and other characters featured throughout the fictional towns of Gearbox Grove and nearby Motopolis where the series takes place. [continue reading…]

NETTalk: Best Practice Program Models in Disability Employment

Four photos of people with disabilities working from the cover of the new Best Practice Guide. Logos for RespectAbility, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and Network of Jewish Human Service AgenciesThis webinar focused on the findings of a recently completed study on best practice program models in disability employment. The initial idea for the study came about through discussions at a meeting of the National Affinity Group on Jewish Poverty and its Jobs workgroup – back when the group met in person, pre-COVID!

With funding from The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, NJHSA developed and implemented a study on this issue in partnership with colleagues from the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and RespectAbility.

View the Disability Employment Best Practice Guide online.

Launch Talks: The Making Of Queer As Folk

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NBCU LAUNCH and RespectAbility presented LAUNCH TALKS: THE MAKING OF QUEER AS FOLK (Peacock), a conversation with Stephen Dunn (Showrunner), Ryan O’Connell (Actor & Writer), and Andrew Gurza (Actor & Consultant). They discussed the reimagining of the groundbreaking queer drama series and the importance of authentic and intersectional representation in front of and behind the camera. [continue reading…]

Disability Awareness: How to Plan Accessible ERG Events

Presented by Chezie and RespectAbility

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Event title, date, time. Icon for closed captioning. RespectAbility logo. Headshots of Nick Sophinos and Ila Eckhoff, who will be speaking at the event. Chezie logoMore often than not, accommodating accessibility is often an afterthought in our ERG events (or not even a thought at all). As ERG Leaders, it’s on us to make sure every component of the our events is accessible to every single participant — no matter ability.

In anticipation of Disability Pride Month, Chezie teamed up with RespectAbility to share best practices on how we can make our events – in-person and virtual – accessible to all who want to participate!

This event was hosted by Nick Sophinos (Head of Data & Analytics at Strategus and Event Speaker at RespectAbility) and Ila Eckhoff (Managing Director at BlackRock).

About Chezie

Chezie is an all-in-one solution designed to help you build impactful employee resource groups. We help you easily and seamlessly track membership, events, budgets, and engagement, so you can focus on what matters – building inclusive communities so you can retain your talent.

Authentically Representing Mental Health On-Screen While Prioritizing It Off-Screen

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Illustration of a person eating something out of a bowl while seated looking at a laptop on a table. Logos for Women in Film and RespectAbility. Text: “Speaker Series May 19 1 pm PT. Authentically representing Mental Health on-screen and prioritizing it off-screen”RespectAbility was thrilled to present this conversation in partnership with Women In Film to celebrate the second annual Mental Health Action Day. As the global conversation around mental health continues, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. Convened by MTV Entertainment Group, Mental Health Action Day was created with an open-source model that has effectively united and galvanized brands, organizational leaders, and cultural leaders to seamlessly integrate the message and spirit into their existing branding and voice. In this panel conversation, we spoke with a variety of Film & TV professionals to discuss ways to accurately and authentically represent mental health on-screen, while also prioritizing your own mental health in an industry that hasn’t traditionally given folks the space to do so. [continue reading…]

Albert Einstein College of Medicine: Neurodiversity in Science and Medicine

Throughout the year, Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s office of diversity and inclusion hosts events aimed at expanding a vision of what it means to be a diverse community that is inclusive of all. This event was created in partnership with Einstein’s chapter of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry (AADMD) and RespectAbility, a diverse, disability-led nonprofit that works to create systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities, and which advances policies and practices that empower people with disabilities to have a better future. Einstein AADMD student board members moderated this discussion. [continue reading…]

Representation of Disabilities in the Hebrew Bible

Attendees heard from CUNY Hunter College student Ariel Gold about how disabilities are represented in the Hebrew Bible. Following her short presentation, Ariel moderated a panel of four Jews with disabilities — Noa Etedgi, Peter Fox, Haley Moss and Lee Chernotsky — who shared their experiences and offered insights on how the Jewish community can become more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.

Co-sponsored by Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, RespectAbility, the Hunter College Jewish Studies Department, and ROSIES. [continue reading…]

From Compliance to Programmatic Accessibility: Best Practices for American Job Centers

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In the 8 years since the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was passed into law, the American economy has profoundly changed. Major structural changes among industries, companies, and contractors have accelerated thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and new economic policies from the Biden Administration. Throughout these tumultuous years, American Job Centers (AJCs) / America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) have been crucial for the delivery of workforce services to thousands of workers. As the labor force participation rate for workers with disabilities rapidly increases to historical highs, jobseekers with disabilities need supports and services that will meet their needs and help them earn an income. However, the working professionals at AJCs/AJCCs may not have received any formal training on disability etiquette, accessibility, assistive technology, or best practices.

This webinar offered a high-level overview of proven practices and lessons learned for serving jobseekers with disabilities through the workforce development system. Attendees learned from a subject matter expert who has collected simple, practical, and cost-effective solutions to help advance opportunities for jobseekers with disabilities. [continue reading…]

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