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Past Events

Overcoming Barriers and Work Disincentives Listening Session

Presented by United Spinal and RespectAbility

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More than 80 million people living in America depend on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for essential services. Looking at the challenge facing these Americans, leaders at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently released a Request for Information (RFI) to the public. This RFI is a tremendous opportunity for people with disabilities to directly weigh in and share their lived experiences accessing care or overcoming barriers to work.

United Spinal Association logoRespectAbility and United Spinal, two national disability organizations, joined forces to host a special listening session to solicit feedback, input, and ideas from the people most directly impacted by the work disincentives in Medicaid. Led by a panel of subject matter experts and self-advocates, this session guided the development and submission of public comments to CMS to help Medicaid better serve the disability community and improve opportunities for employment and success. [continue reading…]

Being Michelle: Exploring Criminal Justice and Trauma through a Deaf Lens

Presented in partnership with Thriving Roots Initiative and Cleveland International Film Festival

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This panel aimed to discuss in more depth some of the issues facing Deaf/disabled people in the criminal justice system as experienced by the protagonist in the feature length documentary film, Being Michelle. The panel brought together Deaf leaders and advocates as well as individuals who have experienced human rights abuses in the criminal justice system. [continue reading…]

Accessibility, Advocacy, Representation: How Philanthropy Can Step Up for the Disability Community

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One in four U.S. adults has some form of disability. Not only are most disabilities non-visible—issues like mental health, chronic illness, dyslexia, and ADHD—but many people choose not to disclose their disability in order to avoid stigma. Given the size of the disability community and its essential contributions to society, why is access still such an afterthought? What factors contribute to discrimination and ableism? And how can philanthropy help?

In this episode of Impact Audio, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Founder of RespectAbility, addresses these questions (and more). [continue reading…]

Success in the Workplace: Engaging People of All Abilities

Inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace is not only good for the community – it’s also good for business! This event featured a conversation exploring the benefits of a diverse workforce with:

  • Jeremy Shapira, Chief Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity Officer at Giant Eagle, Inc.
  • Lee Chernotsky, Chief Encouragement Officer at ROSIES Foundation, a workforce development organization for people with diverse abilities
  • Moderator: Becky Johnson, Director of the Career Development Center at JFCS Pittsburgh, which strives to create a diverse regional workforce

Held in celebration of Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month, this event was co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, RespectAbility, and Jewish Residential Services.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi at the Zero Project Conference 2022

The ZeroCon22 Fireside Chats were short and casual conversations on topics related to Accessibility. This session was part of the Zero Project Conference 2022 (ZeroCon22) — organized by the Zero Project, and broadcast from the United Nations Office at Vienna, Austria. ZeroCon22 spanned three days (February 23-25, 2022) and was centered around the theme of Accessibility. It featured different tracks, covering innovations and insights from public transport systems to financial inclusion, corporate strategies to national action plans, and much more. For more information, visit



Matan Koch and Rabbi Charles Sherman

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Matan Koch met with Rabbi Charles Sherman of Melrose B’nai Israel Emanu-El, a small congregation in Pennsylvania with a dedicated Disability Inclusion Committee. Rabbi Sherman asked intriguing questions that prompted Matan to share about his disability, his experience as a Rabbi’s son, and his journey through the world of Jewish inclusion.

CJE SeniorLife + RespectAbility: Implicit Bias in Disability Employment

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CJE SeniorLife partnered with RespectAbility to put on this JDAIM event. The program challenged attendees to look at the implicit bias that organizations communicate from basic website design, employment applications, job descriptions and throughout the entire job application process. The program highlighted what a person with a disability experiences before they even consider applying to an organization and what can be done to advocate for the hiring and retention of more people with disabilities.

Moderator: Justin Cooper, Filmmaker, Artist, Disability Advocate
Speaker: Michelle Friedman, MA, Keshet Board Chairperson, Life Coach, Disability Advocate

[continue reading…]

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