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Press Releases

New Report: People of Color With and Without Disabilities Absent from Film

Washington, Sept. 8 – Only 2.4 percent of all speaking or named characters in film were shown to have a disability in 2015 and none of the leading character were from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, according to a new report by The Media, Diversity, & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Inequality in 800 Popular Films.

This statistic is not representative of the number of Americans with a disability, which is one-in-five, or 20 percent. Furthermore, as the report points out, “the portrayal of characters with disability is out of line with population norms in the U.S.” in terms of representation of other demographics – gender, race/ethnicity and LGBT status.

“Depictions of disability are not only marginalized,” the report says, “they also obscure the true diversity of this community.”

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New Report: Hispanics With and Without Disabilities Absent from Film

Washington, Sept. 8 – Only 2.4 percent of all speaking or named characters in film were shown to have a disability in 2015 and none of the leading character were from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, according to a new report by The Media, Diversity, & Social Change (MDSC) Initiative at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Inequality in 800 Popular Films.

This statistic is not representative of the number of Americans with a disability, which is one-in-five, or 20 percent. Furthermore, as the report points out, “the portrayal of characters with disability is out of line with population norms in the U.S.” in terms of representation of other demographics – gender, race/ethnicity and LGBT status.

“Depictions of disability are not only marginalized,” the report says, “they also obscure the true diversity of this community.”

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First Ever Senate/Governor Disability Vote Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Sept. 6 – Employment. Stigma. Education. Criminal Justice. Independent Living. Sexual Assault. Housing. Transportation. Adaptive Technology. Fifteen candidates for Senate or Governor have given detailed answers about their views on these issues for people with disabilities.

The more than 56 million people with disabilities in the U.S. have a long list of policy concerns for the candidates running for governor and the U.S. Senate in 2016. Only one-in-three working-age Americans with a disability has a job, despite the fact that studies show that 70 percent want to work. Moreover, according to Disability & Criminal Justice Reform: Keys to Success, more than 750,000 people with disabilities are behind bars in our nation. Disability is the only minority group that people can join at any time due to accident, illness or aging.

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Paralympics: Stigma Buster for People with Disabilities

Washington, Sept. 6 – Fully 56 million Americans – one in five – have a disability. Disability does not discriminate – it happens to people of every race, ethnic group, gender and age. It can happen to anyone at any time due to accident, illness or aging. Yet people with disabilities are frequently seen for what they CANNOT do, rather than what they CAN do. The Paralympics show the remarkable physical achievements of serious world-class athletes with disabilities. ESPN has a primer on the Paralympics that is worth reading.

Thanks to NBC, this year’s Paralympics games will have television coverage that is similar to the Olympics television coverage, a first for the Paralympics, which begin tomorrow night. NBC will show 66 hours of the Games, a 60.5-hour increase over the coverage that was given to the London 2012 Paralympics.

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The Emmys: Seeing Hispanics in Hollywood

Washington, Aug. 26 – For the first time in history, a TV show staring people with disabilities has been nominated for an Emmy Award– and one of the stars, Cristina, is Hispanic! The glass ceiling-breaking show is Born This Way, A&E Network’s critically acclaimed and award-winning original docuseries which airs Tuesday at 10 pm. Born This Way was nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. In addition, two episodes were nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program.

The show documents real life as Cristina and her fiancée Angel continue to look forward to their wedding, but have a lot of life skills to master before they are ready to live on their own.

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The Emmys: Seeing African Americans in Hollywood

Washington, Aug. 26 – For the first time in history, a TV show staring people with disabilities has been nominated for an Emmy Award – and one of the stars, John, is African American! The glass ceiling-breaking show is Born This Way, A&E Network’s critically-acclaimed and award-winning original docuseries. Born This Way was nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. In addition, two episodes were nominated for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program.

The show documents real life as John continues to pursue his dream of becoming a rap artist and entertainer, but has a lot of life skills to master before he is ready to live on his own.

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#PwDsVote Summit Live on C-SPAN 2, Follow Along From Home

As RespectAbility’s Campaign 2016 and People with Disabilities Summit on Enabling Access and Opportunities for All kicks off, viewers at home can join in on the fun as C-SPAN 2 is airing the entire conference live.

The entire conference on democracy and access for people with disabilities will be airing live from 9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and then again from 1:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. If you don’t have cable, you will be able to see it via their website at the online C-SPAN 2 live events page.

This is a really important breakthrough as a disability voter/access training has never been shown on national television before and 56 million Americans have disabilities. Check out the full schedule and join us for as much as you are able!

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On ADA Anniversary, 19 People with Disabilities Slaughtered by Murderer Who Wanted to Eliminate All People with Disabilities

Rockville, July 26 – In what is being billed as Japan’s worst mass murder since World War II, at least 19 were killed and another 26 seriously injured.

The attack occurred at Tsukui Yamayuri En centre, a care center for people with disabilities.

Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee at the center, is the prime suspect after surrendering and saying “I did it.”

Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that the suspect told police: “I want to get rid of the disabled from this world.”

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From Nyle DiMarco to Emmy-Nominated Born this Way and Beyond: Reality TV Leading Way in Busting Stigmas on Disability

Washington, July 25 – This month, A&E’s Born This Way, a show staring people with disabilities, was nominated for three Emmy awards. The show follows seven young adults with Down syndrome as they live, work and love in Los Angeles. Previously it was chosen as one of six honorees for the 2016 Television Academy Honors, an award that recognizes television programming that inspires, informs and motivates.

Earlier, when reality television shows reduced stigmas surrounding disability, it was largely through individuals such as the super talented Nyle DiMarco, who won both America’s Top Model and Dancing with the Stars. A&E’s Born this Way, on the other hand, is fully dedicated to dissolving the stigmas surrounding disability, as cast member Megan Bomgaars’ message “Don’t Limit Me” epitomizes.

“Hey, I have a disability, and I’m OK with it,’” cast member Steven Clark said.

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