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#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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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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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”

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

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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“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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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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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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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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Publications by RespectAbility

San Diego Jewish World | Helping Jewish schools help students with disabilities | August 23, 2016

eJewish Philanthropy | Genesis Prize & Perlman: Helping two kinds of Jews: Those with and without Disabilities

The Times of Israel | School Solutions for Jewish Children with Disabilities | June 10, 2016

Huffington Post | From Hollywood Ableism to Employment | June 5, 2016

Huffington Post | I am J-Chai | May 17, 2016

Huffington Post | #Ableism, Unnoticed Mass Incarceration & The Need for Community Living | May 12, 2016

Huffington Post | Best and Worst States for People with Disabilities to Get Jobs | April 17, 2016

eJewish Philanthropy | A funder asks potential grantees: “How Inclusive are you of People with Disabilities?” | April 6, 2016

Huffington Post | #OscarsSoAble and the Failed Annenberg Report: The Missing Disability Dimension in Diversity Conversations and Actions | February 29, 2016

Huffington Post | New Hampshire’s Voters with Disabilities Head to the Polls | February 8, 2016

Huffington Post | 10 Tips for Including People with Disabilities in Your Party | December 15, 2015

Huffington Post | Tearing Down Barriers Through Television | December 10, 2015

Huffington Post | Tips to Help your Child with a Disability Succeed in Religious School | September 22, 2015

The Jackson Clarion- Ledger | Mississippians with Disabilities want Jobs | August 12, 2015

Times of Acadiana | People with Disabilities Want to Work | August 12, 2015

Daily World | People with Disabilities Want to Work | August 12, 2015

Ogden Standard Examiner | People with Disabilities want to Work | August 11, 2015

Lansing State Journal | Empower Michiganers with Disabilities | August 10, 2015

Grand Forks Herald (ND) North Dakotans with Disabilities want to Work | August 7, 2015

Statesman Journal | People with Disabilitites want Jobs and Independence | August 5, 2015

Fort Worth Star-Telegram | ADA Anniversary: Disabled Texans want to Work | August 5, 2015

South Florida Sun Sentinal | Floridians with Disabilities in Workforce are Underused Resources | August 3, 2015

Tallahassee Democrat | 25 Years After the ADA, There’s Still a Long Way to Go | August 3, 2015

The Des Moines Register | Iowans with Disabilities Want to Work | July 28, 2015

The Jewish Journal | Californians with disabilities want to work | July 28, 2015

Rutland Herald | Vermonters with Disabilities want Jobs | July 26, 2015

Washington Examiner | People with Disabilities Want to Work | July 26, 2015

The Louisville Journal- Courier | People with Disabilities Look for Success | July 26, 2015

The Star Leger | On Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act, a Call to Bring Disabled New Jerseyans into Workforce | July 26, 2015

Honolulu Star Advertiser | ‘Employment First’ Should be Standard | July 26, 2015

The Buffalo News | New Yorkers with Disabilities want to Hold Jobs | July 24, 2015

The Herald Sun | North Carolinians with Disabilities want Jobs and Diginity | July 23, 2015

Southwest Times Record (AR) | Guest Commentary: Arkansas with Disabilities Seek Jobs, Independence | July 23, 2015

Reno Gazette-Journal | Nevadans with Disabilities Want Jobs | July 23, 2015

Argus Leader | S.D. Proves People with Disabilities Want to Work | July 22, 2015

The Times of Israel | Jews, ADA and Disability Rights | July 21, 2015

The Colorado Statesman (CO) | Pauli: Coloradans with Disabilities Want to Work | July 20, 2015

The Arizona Republic | There’s Too Little to Celebrate on ADA’s 25 Anniversary | July 19, 2015

The Birmingham News (AL) | Stigmas Persist, but Alabama’s Disable Deserve to Work | July 19, 2015

Portland Press Herald | People with Disabilities are Often Overlooked as Potential Employees | July 18, 2015

Delaware Online | Jobs for People with Disabilities | July 17, 2015

Huffington Post | Why I’m Grateful to Bush 41 | July 17, 2015

The Providence Journal | Rhode Islanders with Disabilities want to Work | July 16, 2015

Alaska Dispatch News | Alaskans with Disabilities Want Jobs and Independence | July 15, 2015

The Diane Rehm Show | The Americans With Disabilities Act 25 Years Later | July 13, 2015

Capital Gazette | Marylanders with Disabilities Want Jobs, Independence | July 13, 2015

Billings Gazette | Montanans with Disabilities Want to Work | July 11, 2015

Albuquerque Journal | People with Disabilities Deserve the Dignity of a Job | July 11, 2015

National Committe for Responsive Philanthropy | Respect is Key to Inclusive Funding | July 7, 2015

D5 | It’s Time to Add a Disability Lens to Our Philanthropy | June 18, 2015

Idaho Statesman | Idaho’s Citizens with Disabilities Want to Work | June 7, 2015

Salem News | Letter: Brother was a Strong Advocate for those with Disabilities | June 7, 2015

Casper Star Tribune | Wyoming Must do More for those with Disabilities | June 4, 2015

The News & Observer | Don’t Let Barham’s Dream of Disability Rights Die | May 26, 2015

Huffington Post | Making Online and e-Learning Accessible to All | May 26, 2015

Huffington Post | Creating a Better Baltimore | April 28, 2015

Non Profit Quarterly | The Worforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Unprecedented Opportunities for Philanthropists | April 17, 2015

The Times of Israel | Jews, People with Disabilities and “Others” Should Never Be Targets | April 17, 2015

Business Superstar | Superstar of the Week | April 13, 2015

The Times of Israel | Israel and Disability Issues | April 5, 2015

Huffington Post | 10 Tips for Creating Inclusive Religious Organizations | March 26, 2015

Huffington Post | Painful Lessons About Poverty and Diversity | February 18, 2015

The Times of Israel | Disabilities Rights are where Gays Were 20 Years Ago | February 7, 2015

JTA | Longtime Israel Advocate Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi Shifts Focus to Disabilities | February 5, 2015

The Jewish Week | Jewish Inclusion Made Easy and Inexpensive | February 5, 2015

E-Jewish Philanthropy | A Primer on Making the Jewish Community Inclusive | February 4, 2015

The Public Manager | Include People with Disabilities in the Federal Workplace | December 15, 2014

Huffington Post | Tom Harkin adn the Ladder of Opportunity | December 15, 2014

Journal of Jewish Communal Service | Serving Jewish Children with Disabilities and Their Families | December 10, 2014

The Times of Israel | Jewish Fundraising Letter Delegitimizes Disability | November 23, 2014

Huffington Post | Voters with Disabilities Can Influence Election | October 10, 2014

Huffington Post | Modernize Disability Benefits So People with Disabilities Can Work | September 25, 2014

Huffington Post | Lessons from Failed Giving to Charity | September 12, 2014

The Jewish Week | Jewish Seniors Helped; Youth with Disabilities Get Jobs | June 17, 2014

The Hill | Why do President Obama’s children go to a segregated school? | June 5, 2014

Huffington Post | False Stereotypes of People with Disabilities Hold Employers Back | May 22, 2014

The Jewish Week | Man with a Disability to Give Thousands to Charity | May 14, 2014

Huffington Post | Governors: The Front Line in Delivering for Voters | March 26, 2014

The Jewish Week | AIPAC: Where Are the Sign Language and Captions? | March 4, 2014

Human Resource Executive Online| Momentum Building for Putting Disabled to Work | February 24, 2014

Des Moines Register| Another View: Iowa should help disabled find work |February 17, 2014

Huffington Post| Super Bowl was a Victory for People with Disabilities | February 4, 2014

San Diego Jewish World | Poll: Disabled Jews Unlikely to Affiliate | January 30, 2014

The Jewish Week| Q&A: Camps Merge to Serve more Children, Together | January 6, 2014

Journal Sentinel| Jobs for People with DIsabilities is Vital for Wisconsin | January 4, 2014

The Times of Israel | Will Sharon’s Obit Writers Remember His Peace Efforts? | January 3, 2014

The Jewish Week| The List:Biggest Inclusion Pays and Players from 2013 | January 2, 2014

New York Times|Abraham Briloff, Accounting Professor, Dies at 96 | December 18, 2013

Union for Reform Judaism| Union for Reform Judaism and Ruderman Family Foundation Launch New Inclusion Initiative | December 13, 2013

New York Times | Abe Briloff, an Accountant Who Saw Through the Games | December 13, 2013

Times of Israel | Ruderman Family Foundation is funding the new Chalutzim | December 11, 2013

DisabilityScoop | Disability-Related Hate Crimes Surge | November 26, 2013

eJewish Philanthropy | Embracing Those With Disabilities | Nov 18, 2013

Huffington Post | 10 Tips to Enable People With Disabilities to Get Jobs | November 15, 2013

Huffington Post | Disability Treaty Is a Journey, Not a Destination | November 12, 2013

The Jewish Week | JFNA Can Do Better On Disabilities | November 6, 2013

USAToday | Michael J. Fox a Role Model for Disabled | September 25, 2013

The Times of Israel|Stop by the Vice President’s Sukkah | September 24, 2013

The Huffington Post| Bringing Common Sense to Washington | October 14, 2013

The Times of Israel | Protecting Jewish Survival by Including Jews with Disabilities | October 15, 2013

The Times of Israel | Worry About America… before it’s too late | October 14, 2013

Disability Scoop | Disability Concerns May Sway Vote | October, 2012

USA Today | Michael J. Fox a Role Model for Disabled | September 26, 2013

Haaretz|American Jews with Disabilities Excluded by Community | September 10, 2013

Jewish Journal |Mind the Inclusion Gap: Values vs. Reality | September 10, 2013

Washington Jewish Week|Support of Disabled Jews Doesn’t Translate into Action| September 10, 2013

Tablet Magazine | Jewish Activists Unite for RespectAbility | August 5, 2013

The PEW Charitable Trusts|Employing the Disabled | August 5, 2013

Washington Jewish Week|Israeli Playground, ‘Sesame Street’help include kids with disabilities | July 31, 2013

New York Jewish Week|Window On Washington: How You Can Help Your Governor | August 1, 2013

New York Jewish Week|Can You Tell Me How To Get To An Inclusive Playground?(They’re in Israel) | July 31, 2013

Washington Jewish Week|R-E-S-P-E-C-T New nonprofit will empower Americans with disabilities | July 11, 2013

New York Jewish Week |RespectAbility USA Sets Its Sights On Jobs, Power For People With Disabilities | July 3, 2013

PJ Media | Conservatives Missing Massive Voter Opportunity | March 21, 2013

The Jewish Week | The 10 Commandments of Politics for People with Disabilities | March 21, 2013

Play the Money Card to Push Rights for Disabled | February 7, 2013

Huffington Post |Getting People with Disabilities the Jobs They Need | December 11, 2012

Huffington Post | Fiscal Cliff Means W Need More Health Cures, Not Health Care | November 14, 2012

The Times of Israel | Preventing Alzheimer’s is the Next Big Frontier | September 23, 2012

The Jewish Week | Needed: A National Strategy for Including Jews with Special Needs | July 11, 2012

The Jewish Journal | Step Up for Treaty for Civil Rights for People with Disabilities | June 25, 2012

Enabling Jewish Children with Special Needs to Get a Jewish Education-and-Connection | June 2012




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Respect Ability - Fighting Stigmas. Advancing Opportunities.


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