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Past Events

Advocacy & Disability: A Conversation with Dr. Nelle L. Richardson

JFCS and RespectAbility presented a free virtual event with Dr. Nelle L. Richardson. Dr. Nelle spoke on the intersectionality of race, gender, immigration, and disability, as well as her experience as a self-advocate. She shared her personal story of immigrating to the United States, pursuing an education despite a lack of support, living under systemic racism, and her successes as a woman of color with a disability.

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Dr. Nelle Richardson
Photo courtesy of Rick Giudotti, Positive Exposure 109

Dr. Nelle L. Richardson is an ordained pastor, motivational speaker, counselor, life coach, and self-advocate. She recently received a certification from Cornell University in Women in Leadership: Navigating the Double Bind. As a motivational speaker, Dr. Nelle addresses disability and racial bias. She was a key speaker for a UN 2021 Forum: An Untold Narrative: Immigrant Women with Disabilities.

“Leaders of the Future” – Effective Social Media Posts: A Primer

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms have become not just an important way to get out your message, but the most important way to get out your message. While everyone seems to have social media, a quick scroll through the average social media feed shows that we greatly vary in our ability to use these tools effectively and craft the messages that work. This workshop was designed to close that gap and will be useful not only to contribute to nonprofits, but in anything that you want to do. [continue reading…]

Ensuring Accessibility During the Return of In-Person Events – And Why We Should Keep Doing Accessible Virtual Events

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As an end to the COVID-19 pandemic appears on the horizon, many organizations are considering a return to in-person events. As this occurs, it is important to ensure that events are fully accessible to the 1-in-4 adults who have a disability. While we return to in-person events, however, we should not stop hosting virtual events, which allow more people to participate. Seventy-two percent of nonprofit organizations say they have a policy of nondiscrimination against people with disabilities. But, few know how to take the simple steps to make their programming truly accessible. In this practical session, learn how to ensure events – both in-person and virtual – are accessible to all. For example, a recent national inclusion study conducted by RespectAbility, in partnership with The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Nonprofit Times, found that even before the pandemic, only 14% of people say their organizations use video captions to ensure people who are deaf or hard of hearing can use the content. Captioning services are easy to use; yet 86% were not even attempting to take advantage of such tools. This session, led by RespectAbility’s VP of Communications Lauren Appelbaum and Senior Entertainment Media Associate Tatiana Lee, was designed to train organizations to ensure that their practices match their principles of inclusion. [continue reading…]

Kicking Off ADA @ 31: An Evening of Networking and Community Building for Disabled Creatives

ADA@31: A Focus on the Future. Joins us All Summer 2021 for a series of virtual celebrationsOn Wednesday, June 9, we hosted an evening of networking and community building, led by RespectAbility staff, board and alumni of our Summer Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. Attendees had the opportunity to join multiple Zoom breakout rooms for conversations with other likeminded creatives in the disability community, focusing on topics such as writing, directing, producing, self-advocacy and more. This event was only open to entertainment industry creatives who identify as deaf or disabled. [continue reading…]

Celebrating Disabled LGBTQ+ Voices in Media

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As we enter National LGBTQ+ Pride Month (June) every year, we are reminded that disability cuts across all other underrepresented groups and communities. According to a recent study from LGBTmap.org, an estimated 3-5 million people in the LGBTQ+ community identify as having a disability, accounting for roughly one third of the entire LGBTQ+ community in the US. To celebrate these intersectional voices, RespectAbility highlighted a few of our friends and colleagues, including Nasreen Alkhateeb (Cinematographer & Senior Production Advisor at RespectAbility), Kiah Amara (NYC-based consultant, production coordinator and producer) Eric Ascher (Communications Associate at RespectAbility), Shea Mirzai (writer/producer) and Lenny Larsen (producer/director). The conversation was moderated by RespectAbility’s very own Entertainment Media Fellow, Kelley Cape.
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Celebrating Representation and Inclusion of Disabled AAPI in Media

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It is vital to ensure authentic disability representation, considering that disability intersects with all other underrepresented populations. While AAPI representation in film and television has seen an increase in the past few years, there is still work to be done for AAPI disability representation. Watch a discussion with AAPI creatives working in front of and behind the camera to ensure inclusive representation moving forward. [continue reading…]

Mental Health Action Day: Raising Awareness and Promoting Change Through Authentic Mental Health Representation in Media


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RespectAbility was proud to be a founding partner in the first-ever Mental Health Action Day on Thursday, May 20, spearheaded by MTV Entertainment Group alongside nearly 200 additional brands, nonprofits and cultural leaders. Though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, suicide rates over the last two decades have still risen, particularly among young adults, and finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. We discussed the importance of portraying mental health accurately and authentically in TV, film, and other forms of media, especially as a means to create awareness and serve as a first step to systemic change. Panelists included Nikki Bailey (comedian, actress, author, and producer), Ali MacLean (playwright and TV writer), Diego Kusnir (writer and psychologist) and Amanda Burdine (screenwriter). [continue reading…]

Explore the World of International Exchange

A Conversation with the Leaders of Mobility International USA


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Have you ever thought about studying, volunteering, or interning abroad? What’s stopping you?

The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) is your passport to the world! The NCDE is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by Mobility International USA (MIUSA) with the mission to see more people with disabilities accessing the same international exchange programs and scholarships available to everyone.

The NCDE is a free resource which educates international exchange professionals on best practices for supporting participants with disabilities and spreads knowledge of international exchange opportunities in the disability community. NCDE offers a rich collection of online resources including articles, podcasts, webinars and publications including the A World Awaits You (AWAY) journal.

Start your exploration of the world of opportunities through this webinar where we learned more about the work of Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and learned about the National Clearinghouse on Disability Exchange (NCDE), your free resource to access the world!

[continue reading…]

Learning The Lessons of 2020: Voting, Accessibility, and Voters with Disabilities

Lessons from the 2020 Election for approximately 38 million Voters with Disabilities.


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Amid a global pandemic, fierce civil strife and a major economic crisis, millions of Americans safely and securely cast their ballots in 2020. More than in any previous election, the disability community was engaged, active, and made their voices heard. What lessons need to be learned from this election? How did expanded mail and absentee voting options help people with disabilities? What barriers still keep members of America’s largest minority community from casting their ballots? How did COVID-19 change the electoral landscape?

These are some of the critical questions answered by the groundbreaking work of Professors Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research. Professors Schur and Kruse joined RespectAbility for a special webinar reflecting on what their research shows and how future elections can be more inclusive. This webinar reflected on research recently published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and identified key topics for future disability advocacy. [continue reading…]

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