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Press Releases

People with Disabilities More Likely to be Victims of Crime & Police Brutality

African Americans with Disabilities Much Less Likely to Be Diagnosed and Receive Services

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 11 – As the Democratic candidates for president address the Black and Brown Forum tonight, the nation’s mayors are calling on the candidates to speak out on urban issues impacting America’s cities.

A major issue in cities across the country is violence. People with disabilities (PwDs) are twice as likely to be victims of crime than people without disabilities. In addition, they are more likely to be victims of police attacks.

“With twice as many Americans with disabilities under physical attack and repeatedly victims of police violence, we have a long way to go in America before people with disabilities can be safe, respected and have the same opportunities as everyone else. Additionally, minorities are far less likely to get the screening and services they need for early interventions that can help them succeed in jobs and in life,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility.

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Kwik Trip

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on Kwik Trip

Kwik Trip’s Retail Helper Program a “Blueprint” for Other Companies

Exterior of a Kwik Trip Store

Exterior of a Kwik Trip Store

Washington, Dec. 28 – Officially, Luke Cohran’s title at Kwik Trip’s Store 761 in La Crosse, Wisc. is retail helper. Unofficially? He’s the store singer. Whether he’s cleaning the gas pumps, restocking the coolers or checking inventory, 23-year-old Cochran can be found crooning.

“Our customers get such a joy out of Luke,” says Terry Johnson, the store leader who hired Cochran just over a year ago through the Wisconsin-based company’s Retail Helper program, which employs people with disabilities. Job duties include stocking, cleaning and food preparation, with shifts built around employees’ bus schedules. To start, employees work a maximum of 15 hours a week, a schedule that allows them to continue to receive disability benefits while gaining skills and independence. Once they master their job skills, they may apply for other positions at the stores.

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On the Campaign Trail with a Wheelchair

 

Justin Chappell in a wheelchair interviewing Bernie Sanders using an iPad

Justin Chappell interviewing Bernie Sanders

I’m Justin Chappell, one of The RespectAbility Report’s newest reporters. I also have Spina bifida, and, as a result, use a wheelchair. But this does not limit me. There are negative stigmas out there that discriminate against people with disabilities. But these stigmas are inaccurate and I live a very full life. Today I own my own place, am married to the love of my life, and now, on behalf of RespectAbility, I am interviewing presidential candidates!

The RespectAbility Report is a new online publication sponsored by the nonprofit disability rights and opportunity group RespectAbility. Our publisher, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, worked at Campaigns & Elections magazine and had a newspaper column for many years. Our editor, Lauren Appelbaum, has advanced degrees in journalism and worked in NBC News’ political unit with Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell.

Personally, I have worked for Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, a major disability leader who was key to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), as well as in the Independent Living movement. Our team is filled with self-advocates and experts on disability issues and we have a thriving fellowship program where young leaders can get concrete skills in politics, journalism and public policy. Our publication focuses on the intersection between politics and disability issues.

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Mass Shooting at Center for People with Disabilities, Kills at Least 14

People with disabilities twice as likely to be victims of crime

Dec. 2 – In a developing story, at least 14 people are dead and 17 others are wounded in a California shooting on the grounds of the Inland Regional Center, which serves people with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“We hope for the best for the victims of violence in San Bernardino, California,” Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility said. “Our hearts and prayers are with them and their families.”

With nearly 670 employees, the Inland Regional Center serves those with developmental disabilities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to the center’s Facebook page.

The center has provided services to more than 30,200 people with developmental disabilities and their families for at least 40 years. The nonprofit organization serves children, adults and seniors.

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A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docu-Series “Born This Way”

A&E Network to Premiere New Original Docu-Series “Born This Way”

Washington, Nov. 11 – Stigmas matter —  and that they are hard to break. This week the horrible news broke that hate crimes against people with disabilities are up 41 percent in one country alone. Thus, I am delighted to share this press release below about a great new stigma-busting show about people with developmental disabilities. Earlier the creator of this show, Jonathan Murray, won an Emmy for his outstanding documentary, Autism: The Musical. He also created our first-ever public service ad, #RespectTheAbility, which starred T.J. Lavin from his MTV show THE CHALLENGE. We’ve been involved in the creation of this new show, and are very proud of the results. It is so honest and fun!

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#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on AT&T

#RespectTheAbility Campaign: Spotlight on AT&T

Every Voice Matters: Fortune 50 Global Company is a Top Employer of People with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 21 – “Every voice matters.”

That’s the message Cynthia Marshall, AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer, has for its employees.

“At AT&T, diversity and inclusion are woven into all our business strategies and are key in achieving our business goals.”

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RespectAbility – Public Testimony Submission: The Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive, Integrated Employment for Individuals with Disabilities

“Pity and more government handouts and lawsuits are not the solutions for people with disabilities who want a better future. The keys are in ending stigmas and misconceptions, aligning public policies to proven best practices that enable opportunities and independence, and in putting capitalism to work for people with disabilities, employers and taxpayers alike.”

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Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation Gives Major Gift to RespectAbility: National Leadership Program Announced

Washington, D.C. – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities (PwDs) to achieve the American dream, is delighted to announce that the Stanford and Joan Alexander Foundation awarded a lead gift to create a new National Leadership Program.

“We are thrilled to have this new transformative support,” Jennifer Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility, said. “Thanks to Stanford and Joan Alexander, we will be able to launch the National Leadership program for young leaders with and without disabilities who are going into public policy, advocacy, journalism, public relations, and other leadership roles.”

Joan Alexander added, “We are pleased to help launch a program that will not only support and train young leaders, but will also raise awareness and make a significant impact on how our country views, respects, and includes people with disabilities.”

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#RespectTheAbility Celebrates National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

Won Shin, senior manager in transaction advisory services at EY, speaks with coworkers Alejandra Preciat and Frances Smith (photo credit POSITIVE EXPOSURE)

#RespectAbility campaign spotlights model employers that demonstrate how hiring workers with disabilities benefits the employer, the employee and society

Washington, Sept. 30 – RespectAbilityUSA is launching its 2015 #RespectTheAbility campaign in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which begins tomorrow. The campaign highlights the benefits companies reap when they hire talented people with disabilities. Using the hashtag #RespectTheAbility, the campaign hopes to ultimately erase negative and untrue stigmas associated with hiring people with disabilities.

“Many companies hire the best talent out there, no matter what package that talent comes in,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbilityUSA. “Employers’ focus should be on the abilities an individual brings to the table to better the organization, not any disabilities the individual may have. It is time for all employers to look beyond the disability, and understand the true value of these employees.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the U.S. Business Leadership Network (USBLN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)’s first Disability Equality Index (DEI) naming 19 companies as DEI Best Places to Work. Developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates, the DEI is a national, transparent benchmarking tool that offers businesses an opportunity to receive an objective score, on a scale of zero to 100, on their disability inclusion policies and practices.

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The Best-and Worst-States for Workers with Disabilities

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and yet 70 percent of people with disabilities nationwide are out of the workforce.

The rates of employment vary widely by state. This report provides details on those states that are leading the country on employing people with disabilities. This report shows that people with disabilities are twice as likely to be working in the Dakotas, Alaska and Wyoming than they are in many other states.

The states with the consistently lowest workforce participation rates are West Virginia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and Arizona. When taking into consideration the gap between the employment rate of people with disabilities and those without disabilities, Maine and Vermont are added to the list, with Maine coming in dead last in the country.

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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.

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