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Press Releases

RespectAbility Condemns Racism & Anti-Semitism in Charlottesville

Rockville, Md., Aug. 18 – RespectAbility strongly condemns the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and expresses concern about more demonstrations being planned by white nationalists this weekend. People with disabilities cut across every group in America, including those of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and religions. There is no room in America for any prejudice of any kind.

Our thoughts are with the Charlottesville victims and their families. Last weekend in Virginia, Heather Heyer was killed and dozens were injured when a young man who idolized Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany drove his car into a group of counter-protestors. At the same time, protestors marched past Congregation Beth Israel, shouting, “There’s the synagogue!” followed by chants of ‘Seig Heil’ and other anti-Semitic language.

There is no room for the racism and anti-Semitism that was so evident in Charlottesville and continues today across America. RespectAbility condemns any and all prejudice.

#LA2CapHill

From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities
Featuring Leah Daniels-Butler, Casting Director and Producer, Tommy Morrissey, the One-Arm Golfer, and Marc Summers of The Food Network

Rockville, Md., July 28 – RespectAbility invites you to our free one-day summit, From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, geared toward bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. This entirely accessible event is open to the public.

The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

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Famous TV Host who Once Wanted to be a Rabbi to Discuss Succeeding with a Mental Health Disability

RespectAbility Summit Features Marc Summers on Monday, July 31

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

Rockville, Md., July 28 – RespectAbility invites you to our one-day summit, From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities, geared toward bridging the gap between entertainment, politics and disability advocacy. This free and entirely accessible event is open to congressional and Senate staff, journalists, disability advocates and other interested parties.

As a kid, Marc Summers, born Marc Berkowitz, was raised in a Jewish household and originally was inspired to become a rabbi before he began his rise to stardom. In an interview with the Jewish Times, Summers explained:

“I got the TV bug and went to talk to Rabbi Weitzman of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, and I told him that I wanted to be a rabbi but also to be a performer. Regardless, I wanted to help people. He told me, ‘As a rabbi, you can help a small congregation a lot, but as a performer you can help a lot of people a little.’ I decided that I would rather help a lot of people, so my path was set.”

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From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: Full Lineup of Speakers Announced

head shot of Leah Daniels-Butler wearing a blue collared blouse color photo

Leah Daniels-Butler

Rockville, Md., July 27 – RespectAbility announces the final line-up for next week’s summit From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities. The summit will take place on Monday, July 31 from 8:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room (RHOB 2168) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

The summit will celebrate the good that can be done to end stigmas and advance opportunities for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

headshot of Marc Summers wearing a black suit and blue shirt with arms crossed in front of a kitchen set

Marc Summers

Featuring:

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27 Years After ADA, Employment for People with Disabilities Still Too Low

A black and white photo of an American flag with the stars in shape of a wheelchairRockville, Md., July 26 – As the nation celebrates the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there is still so much work that needs to be done.

Fundamentally the ADA was a civil rights bill; this law guaranteed legal protections and physical access for the nation’s largest minority. The ADA reduced physical barriers to the world of work, transportation and independent living. Because of this law, millions of Americans with disabilities have been able to go to school, participate in the political process, live independently in the community and enter the workforce to pursue a better future for themselves and their families.

However, since its passing, not much has changed by way of employment of people with disabilities. The law has done so much to remove physical barriers without removing many attitudinal barriers.

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On Fourth Anniversary, RespectAbility Announces New Officers and Welcomes New Members to Its Board

Calvin Harris Elected as Chair, Succeeding Donn Weinberg; New Board Member Ronald Glancz, Deeply Seasoned Leader in the Nonprofit Community, Elected Treasurer

New members include cross section of national leaders from Hollywood, public policy, philanthropy, communications and the private sector

Calvin Harris smiling and facing the camera with crossed arms and wearing a striped tie color photo

Calvin Harris, Chair

Rockville, Md., July 19 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, today announced the additions of new members to the boards of directors and advisors, as well as new officers. Notably, Calvin Harris has been elected to be the chair of RespectAbility. He follows co-founder Donn Weinberg, whose impact on RespectAbility and the disability sector has been indispensable.

“We are deeply grateful for Donn Weinberg’s leadership and delighted that he will remain as chair emeritus,” stated RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “ Meanwhile, we are extremely excited for Calvin Harris to assume the role as board chair, as well as the additional high level perspectives and personalities that will join him on RespectAbility’s board of director and advisors.”

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Emmy Award-Winning Show Highlights ABLE Accounts and Financial Security for People with Disabilities

Born This Way Nominated for Six 2017 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program

Cast of Born This Way smiling and posing for the camera

Born This Way Cast

Rockville, Md., July 18 – For the cast of Emmy award-winning Born This Way and others with disabilities, acquiring a sense of financial stability is important in being able to live an independent life.

Born This Way, a reality TV show just nominated for six Emmy awards, including again for the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, which the show won in 2016, is centered on seven young adults with Down syndrome living their day-to-day lives, all while pursuing their passions, following their dreams and defying stigmas. In the final episode of season three, Megan and her mother Kris learn about opening an A Better Life Experience (ABLE) account. ABLE accounts are savings accounts designed specifically for people with disabilities and their families to aid them in financial independence.

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“Empire” Casting Director Leah Daniels-Butler Confirmed to Speak at RespectAbility Summit

head shot of Leah Daniels-Butler wearing a blue collared blouse

Leah Daniels-Butler

Rockville, Md., July 13 – Leah Daniels-Butler, “Empire” casting director, will be speaking at RespectAbility’s summit From Hollywood to Capitol Hill: The Future of Americans with Disabilities.

Daniels-Butler is a casting director and producer most notable for launching the careers of gifted actors like Best Actress Nominee Gaborey Sidebe, star of the Academy Award winning film “Precious,” securing talent for both blockbuster and award-winning films like “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Lee Daniels, The Butler” and as Casting Director for television’s #1 show, “Empire.”

Her ongoing commitment to championing the inclusion and representation of diverse acting casts of color, gender and ability has guided her career path to being appointed a National Board Director for the Casting Society of America, spearheading the CSA’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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Born This Way Highlights Importance of Inclusive Education

Watch #BornThisWay on A&E, Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET. 

View Education Resources on Disability Issues

Rockville, Md., June 27 — In the U.S., schools were not required to provide special education until 1975. Today, the fight for inclusive education remains a constant battle for parents and students. Born This Way, a reality television show that stars seven diverse young adults with Down syndrome, shines the spotlight on the importance of inclusive education and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process.

Ensuring children with disabilities receive the education and training they need to succeed is vitally important. Nationally, only 65 percent of students with disabilities graduate high school each year compared to 86 percent of student without disabilities. That means there is 21-point gap in outcomes. Furthermore, only seven percent of students with disabilities graduate college. As such, educators have a critical role to play in empowering more students with disabilities to succeed.

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

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RespectAbility
11333 Woodglen Drive, #102
Rockville, MD 20852
Office Number: 202-517-6272
info@respectability.org

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