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RespectAbility and Norman Lear Center Unite to Help Hollywood Include People with Disabilities

HH&S' Director Kate Folb in between RespectAbility's President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Communications Director Lauren Appelbaum, all standing and smiling, in front of a picture of Norman Lear

HH&S’ Director Kate Folb in between RespectAbility’s President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Communications Director Lauren Appelbaum

Los Angeles, Calif., April 18 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, announces a new partnership with Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), a project of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center. The partnership will help educate, inform and support the success of the movie/TV industry in its work to ensure that people with disabilities are included on both sides of the camera in the stories that Hollywood tells. HH&S provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for storylines on health, safety and national security. Like RespectAbility, HH&S recognizes the profound impact that entertainment media have on individual knowledge and behavior – ultimately impacting society and lives at large.

“We’re delighted to be working with RespectAbility to help inform and inspire the frequency and accuracy of portrayals of people with disabilities in TV and film,” said Kate Folb, the director of HH&S.

HH&S offers several resources, including quick facts, briefings and consultations with experts, case examples, panel discussions about timely health issues, a quarterly newsletter with health updates called Real to Reel and an expanding list of tip sheets written specifically for writers and producers. The broad range of topics includes disability-specific topics autism and mental health. Some of the TV shows they have assisted include The Fosters, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, Orange Is the New Black, Speechless, Switched at Birth and many more.

The creation of this partnership would not have been possible without the financial support of The California Endowment. “Visibility and representation matters,” said Jose L. Plaza, who manages the grant for The California Endowment. “We know that accurate and positive portrayals of diverse people with disabilities will not only empower and educate viewers and program creators but will ultimately lead to a more inclusive, responsive and healthier society.”

[read more…]

Please join us for the next in-person convening of the Long Beach Community of Practice.

Date: Thursday, April 26th, 2018
Time: 12pm-1:30pm
Location: DeVry University – Long Beach Campus
3800 Kilroy Airport Way
Room 109
Long Beach, CA  90806
Lunch will be provided.

RSVP:

Disability Employment Toolkit Released

Long Beach, CA, March 28 – Dozens of leaders from across Long Beach gathered to discuss national lessons and local opportunities and to collaborate, to enable more residents with disabilities to get jobs. Meeting for nearly three hours at the Long Beach office of the College Internship Program (CIP), over 30 local providers, self-advocates, and community professionals met to talk strategies, brain storm ideas and make serious commitments to improving outcomes. At the community gathering, staff from RespectAbility revealed the brand-new Tools to Drive Employment resource. This new toolkit summarizes key steps the Long Beach community can take to expand job opportunities for residents with disabilities. This report represents the culmination of months of work made possible by a Knight Foundation grant and the past support of the Long Beach Community Foundation.

Event attendees had the opportunity to learn about one another’s resources, build new professional connections, discuss common challenges and commit to closer cooperation in the future. The gathering included a  wide range of community organizations such as AbilityFirst; CA Charter Schools Association; CIP of Long Beach; California State University of Long Beach; Easterseals Work First; Fiesta Educativa; Goodwill SOLAC; Harbor Regional Center; Hillside Enterprises; ICAN: California Abilities Network; Jewish Federation of Greater LA; Khmer Parent Association; Long Beach City College; Long Beach Unified School District; Social Vocational Services; and RespectAbility. The event was generously hosted by the College Internship Program (CIP) of Long Beach. CIP offers a wide range of supports, services and job training for young adults on the Autism spectrum and students with learning and other disabilities.

Back Row (Left to Right): Rick Travis and Claudia Villegas-Avalos from Harbor Regional Center, Angela Rodriguez from Social Vocational Services and Regina Todd from LBUSD. Scott Elliott, Blake Van Steenburg, Mike Karle, Andrew Talley, Jasmine Stidd and Andrew Beisel from ICAN: California Abilities Network. Delbert Whetter, Board Member, RespectAbility. Raoul Munoz and Armida Ochoa from Fiesta Educativa. Vivain Hsa from CCSA. Lori Fleischman from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Adam Young and Jacquelyn Jaime, Hillside Enterprises. Sandra McElwee, RespectAbility and Julie Givens, LBUSD. Front Row (Left to Right): Stephenie Kelley ICAN: California Abilities Network, Sharon Lazo-Nakamoto from LBUSD, Kayla Crow from AbilityFirst, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Debbie Fink from RespectAbility. Chan Hopson, Khmer Parent Association.

Back Row (Left to Right): Rick Travis and Claudia Villegas-Avalos from Harbor Regional Center, Angela Rodriguez from Social Vocational Services and Regina Todd from LBUSD. Scott Elliott, Blake Van Steenburg, Mike Karle, Andrew Talley, Jasmine Stidd and Andrew Beisel from ICAN: California Abilities Network. Delbert Whetter, Board Member, RespectAbility. Raoul Munoz and Armida Ochoa from Fiesta Educativa. Vivian Hsa from CCSA. Lori Fleischman from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Adam Young and Jacquelyn Jaime, Hillside Enterprises. Sandra McElwee, RespectAbility and Julie Givens, LBUSD. Front Row (Left to Right): Stephenie Kelley ICAN: California Abilities Network, Sharon Lazo-Nakamoto from LBUSD, Kayla Crow from AbilityFirst, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi and Debbie Fink from RespectAbility. Chan Hopson, Khmer Parent Association.

[read more…]

CONTACT: Lauren Appelbaum, laurena@respectability.org, 202-591-0703

Download the PDF or accessible Word document or view online. Also, view our PPT to learn more.

Reality TV Pioneer Jonathan Murray, former Presidential appointee and inclusion expert Steven James Tingus, film executive Delbert Whetter, RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Hollywood, Health & Society Director Kate Folb, Top Model/Actor Nyle DiMarco and California Endowment’s Jose Plaza led the March 20 breakfast discussion about the path to inclusion of people with disabilities

A group of people seated in chairs and wheelchairs and standing smiling and posing for the camera

Back Row: Delbert Whetter, Richard Ray, Nyle DiMarco, Jonathan Murray, Cindy Chu, Hasan Foster, Kate Folb, Jose Plaza; Front Row: Steven James Tingus, Lauren Appelbaum, Tatiana Lee, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Debbie Fink

Los Angeles, Calif., March 20 – As entertainment professionals across all platforms work to become more inclusive of minorities, RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization that fights stigma and advances opportunities for people with disabilities, announces the launch of “The Hollywood Disability Toolkit: The RespectAbility Guide to Inclusion in the Entertainment Industry.” The toolkit, which is available online for free, offers Hollywood professionals the facts and sources they need to get disability inclusion right.

The Hollywood Disability Toolkit: The RespectAbility Guide to Inclusion in the Entertainment IndustryA first of its kind primer for entertainment professionals, it covers a wide array of key issues all in one easy to read place. A Disability FAQ covers topics from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the definition of a disability to concrete steps to ensure inclusivity and sample inclusion language. The FAQ also covers resources for hiring employees with disabilities and tax and other incentives that employers have to hire people with disabilities.

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MEDIA ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 
John Stodder, Tower26, (213) 393-42190 stodder.john@gmail.com

SPACE IS EXTREMELY LIMITED – YOU MUST BE ON THE LIST TO ENTER

Actor/Model and Deaf Activist Nyle DiMarco Joins in Launch of Historic “Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit” to Help Industry Achieve Goals of Equitable Hiring & Authentic Representation of Disabilities
Nyle DiMarco sitting in a car

Nyle DiMarco

Reality TV Pioneer Jonathan Murray, RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Hollywood, Health & Society Director Kate Folb and California Endowment’s Jose Plaza to lead March 20 breakfast discussion about the path to inclusion of people with disabilities.

[read more…]

An adult finger holding the hand of a baby that is lying down on a blanket.

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2018 – The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation joined a small cadre of exceptional champions for inclusion and equality by awarding $145 million in grants to groundbreaking projects that will include people with disabilities equally in their work. MacArthur’s initiative, 100&Change, asked grant applicants – no matter their sector or project goals – to review a series of questions and a check list to ensure the inclusion of people with disabilities in multiple aspects of the grant recipients’ proposed projects. Never before has a grant program anywhere near this size asked grantees to address how they plan to ensure access to benefits for persons with disabilities.

The Rice 360° Institute for Global Health (Rice University) received $15 million to prevent newborn babies in Africa from dying. Indeed, every year, 1.1 million newborns die in Africa alone, mostly from preventable causes — pre-term birth, complications of labor and delivery, and infections. The grant from MacArthur will enable Rice and their partners to providing quality, comprehensive hospital care during birth, labor, and the first weeks of life with a goal of reducing newborn deaths in certain areas by 75 percent.

RespectAbility had the opportunity to ask the winners of the grants about how they ensured their project will include people with disabilities as equals. Professor Maria Oden, a Professor in the Practice of Engineering in the Department of Bioengineering at Rice’s George R. Brown School of Engineering and Director of the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen at Rice University and co-director of Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health, gave us her insights: [read more…]

Oksana Masters
Oksana Masters reacts to winning the women’s sitting cross-country 1.1-kilometer sprint at the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on March 14, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Washington, D.C., March 15 – Oksana Masters won a long-awaited Paralympic gold medal yesterday in a thrilling day of action that saw Team USA win three medals in the cross-country sprint. Masters, who already owned five Paralympic medals (two silver and three bronze) in rowing and Nordic skiing, grabbed the title of Paralympic champion for the first time in her career.

But Masters’ life did not start out easily. Like more than 3 million other children with disabilities around the world, she had been abandoned to an orphanage. Indeed, more than 80 percent of the more than 8 million children living in orphanages around the world have a living parent who would prefer to care for their child if they had the resources to do so. Children with disabilities are often placed in orphanages because of stigmas, poverty and their families’ inability to access basic services such as education or specialized assistance for children with disabilities. Research demonstrates that residential care has a negative impact on children’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and intellectual development. In addition, well-meaning people donate millions of dollars to orphanages, while funds spent on orphanages could support integration of ten times as many children into families and achieve better results.

Thankfully for Masters, she found a “forever family” in the United States who adopted and believed in her. Now, thanks to a major investment by the MacArthur Foundation, many other children with disabilities and others at orphanages around the world will also have a chance to have a permanent family and home. That is because the MacArthur Foundation joining a wave of enlightened philanthropists by asking finalists for its major 100-million-dollar challenge to include people with disabilities in their work. Their initiative, “100&Change,” is a competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time. Never before has a grant anywhere near this size asked grantees to address how they plan to assure access to benefits for persons with disabilities. [read more…]

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role makes call for more inclusion.
  • Authentic representation of disability wins Best Live Action Short.
  • Best Picture Winner goes to film with actor playing a disability she doesn’t have.
  • Diversity and inclusion segment omits people with disabilities.
Frances McDormand holding an Oscar giving a speech on stage

Frances McDormand

Los Angeles, Calif., March 5 – In a historic call for more information, Academy Award winner Frances McDormand called for an inclusion rider in contracts – a provision that ensures diversity and inclusion in not only the cast of a Hollywood project, but also the crew. The result can lead to a Hollywood A-lister ensuring gender, racial, LGBTQ and disability equality via his or her contracts.

“For those of you asking about the #InclusionRider, it’s designed to ensure equitable hiring in supportive roles for women, POC [people of color], the LGBT community, & people w/disabilities,” the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative tweeted. Stacy Smith, its Founder and Director, previously talked about this concept during a 2016 TED Talk.

An inclusion rider “has always been available to all – everybody who does a negotiation on a film – which means you can ask for or demand at least 50 percent diversity in not only the casting but the crew.” McDormand, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, told The Hollywood Reporter backstage after the Oscars. “The fact that I just learned that after 35 years in the film business – we aren’t going back.”

[read more…]

Long Beach, California, Feb. 22 – Los californianos con discapacidades son dramáticamente menos propensos a encontrar empleo en comparación con la población en general. Recientemente se publicó el Compendio de Estadísticas sobre Discapacidades realizado por La Universidad New Hampshire. El compendio revela una brecha de 40 puntos porcentuales en las perspectivas que existen entre las personas con y sin discapacidades. A pesar de la exitosa economía de Golden State, la cual incluye la tasa de empleo más baja en más de 40 años. Tan solo 707,791 o el 34.8% de los californianos con discapacidades tienen un empleo. Por otro lado, el 74.4% de personas sin discapacidades tienen un empleo.

Según RespectAbility, una organización nacional que lucha contra los estigmas y genera oportunidades de avances para las personas con discapacidad, California ocupa el puesto 34 en puestos de trabajo para personas con discapacidades. Incluso estados con economías más pequeñas como Minnesota y las Dakotas están en puestos más altos que California.  Las estadísticas son decepcionantes ya que la tasa de desempleo de California en diciembre fue de 4.3%, la más baja vista en la historia desde 1976.

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