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Past Events

Conversations Through the Lens: A 360 View of Disability on Set

Presented in collaboration with Film Independent

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Having proper disability representation behind the camera is vital to ensure equity in Hollywood. Award-winning directors Nasreen Alkhateeb and Andrew Reid, who both acquired disabilities as young adults, and director Shaina Ghuraya who has two films at Slamdance 2021, all have first-hand experience in navigating on-set life with a disability and will share their experiences on and off set. Learn from Alice Austen (Producer, Give Me Liberty) and Hikari (Writer/Producer/Director, 37 Seconds) about what it takes to run a set that welcomes and ensures universal design for crew members and actors with disabilities. Moderated by David Radcliff, this panel provided a 360 view into what is like to be a filmmaker with a disability and what it takes to improve the Hollywood environment and culture to make everything more accessible.

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The Accessibility of Filmmaking

Presented in collaboration with Film Independent

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This panel informed and ensured that not only films are accessible, but that accessibility is kept in mind throughout the entire process. Having people with disabilities behind and in front of the camera makes for better and more inclusive stories, even if the project is not disability related. Introduced by Film Independent’s Josh Welsh and moderated by RespectAbility’s Tatiana Lee, this panel covered accessibility touch points throughout the entire filmmaking process, from hiring and casting disabled talent, making film sets accessible, and ensuring that the film itself is accessible. Attendees heard first-hand from other filmmakers on the festival circuit on how they were able to implement best practices. [continue reading…]

Poll-Driven Messaging to Achieve Positive Change for People with Disabilities

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In the aftermath of one of the most divisive election cycles in recent memory, it may come as a surprise that there is a proven place for positive messages that will win hearts and minds on critical issues facing Americans.  Over the course of nearly a decade, RespectAbility has engaged in strategic public opinion research in order to advance opportunities and reduce stigma for people with disabilities.

Nearly 30 years from passing the ADA, research shows that pre-COVID, 70% of working age Americans (ages 18-64) with disabilities were out of the workforce, even though 71% say that they want to work.  And, these staggering figures have remained largely unchanged since the ADA.  While there are systemic policy and legislative challenges to advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, research consistently shows that whether it be “overt or unconscious bias,” stigma is the primary barrier.

Which begs the question, how do people with disabilities and those who care about them crush this barrier?

The short answer is positive, inclusive, hopeful messages supported by clear impactful facts that matter to a persuadable audience.

Join RespectAbility and pollster Meagan Buren of Buren Research & Communications for an in-depth review of messaging research on increasing opportunities for people with disabilities. Across many sectors from politics to philanthropy to religious institutions, positive messaging works! [continue reading…]

Making Your Voices Heard: Civic Engagement Strategies for People with Disabilities in 2021 and Beyond

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In his final words to the nation, the late Rep. John Lewis said that “Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part…” Those words have never been truer than today. Voters with disabilities have turned out in record breaking numbers to cast their ballots in 2020. However, being an active participant in America’s democracy does not end after you cast your ballot on Election Day. [continue reading…]

How To Join The Biden-Harris Administration Or A Key Commission

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Biden transition logo with a bald eagle and the number 46.Every new president can choose a team to advance their agenda. Thus, the incoming Biden-Harris Administration will have more than 9,000 new political jobs, all of which are listed in the “Plum Book”. There are also numerous part time board and commissions where you could have a voice on behalf of underrepresented groups while making our country better.

RespectAbility is a proud partner of, a nonprofit which is working to develop slates of qualified diverse candidates for every relevant position so we can provide a positive alternative to the status-quo. We are working to support policies that increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the public sector. For example, we supported their Pledge for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Learn from an expert panel who discussed navigating the “Plum Book” and identified the process for being considered for political appointments. Learn how YOU can make a difference in the next Administration!

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Voters with Disabilities and the Outcome of the 2020 Election: New Data and New Surprises

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Election Topline – WordPDF
Election-Eve Topline – WordPDF

Now that the dust has settled on the outcome of the 2020 election, new data has poured in about voter preferences, turnouts, and ticket splitting. From the Democratic primaries all the way to election day, there have been unprecedented efforts by candidate for public office to talk about the issues most important to the approximately 38 million eligible voters with disabilities. Polling conducted earlier this year showed that the votes of the disability community were up for grabs all the way to November.

Watch the reveal of a new election day poll of over 2,400 voters completed by the national public opinion and political strategy research firm Lake Research Partners and in partnership with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). Our exciting panel helped make sense of how candidate outreach to voters with disabilities may have swung the election and where the disability community stands in relation to other underrepresented communities. [continue reading…]

The Community Reinvestment Act and Why It Matters for People with Disabilities

A Conversation and Call to Action with Michael Morris

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Signed into law in 1977, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was created to encourage banks to meet the needs of all borrowers and work against the divisions created by discriminatory practices like redlining. The law has existed for 43 years to help low- and moderate-income neighborhoods through retail banking and community development. However, CRA has yet to fully support the inclusion of people with disabilities as an eligible group.

Now, the Federal Reserve Board is currently soliciting public feedback to guide future changes to the law, how banking regulations are created and how to promote greater inclusion. This is a critical opportunity for the disability community to get organized and send in our ideas.

According to the National Disability Institute, sixty percent of adults with disabilities only have a low or moderate income and that far too many Americans with disabilities live in neighborhoods that count as low- or moderate-income communities under the CRA.

Watch an exciting and dynamic conversation with Michael Morris, JD, the founder and Senior Strategic Advisor of National Disability Institute, about why CRA matters for people with disabilities and how we can make our collective voices heard. The conversation was moderated by Hon. Steve Bartlett, chairman of RespectAbility, former Mayor of Dallas and former President and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable. [continue reading…]

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