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tv   Forum Focuses on Opportunities for People with Disabilities  CSPAN  July 31, 2017 9:14am-12:13pm EDT

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[applause] >> the rest of our tennessee congressional delegation i've worked with all of you from the tip of memphis to the top part of bristol, tennessee. so glad to have your support and have you here. i want to thank some great ambassadors here with us today. i'd like to start with my great colleague from japan. >> we're going to leave this and take you now live on c-span2 on hearing on people with disabilities, from hollywood. dancers,artists, and this is a day long event sponsored. >> a loved one, a family member or a close friend who you really care about who has a disability, so, everyone in the room, everyone in the room. how many of you-- this is something that you do
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like very involved, very involved in that. okay, who here will say, you know, i didn't really know about this, but-- okay. great. so, good morning, and hello and welcome. i am the founder and president respectability-- >> are you having trouble hearing me? i'm going to start over. i'm the founder and president of respectability, a nonprofit organization working it fight stigmas and end real prejudice
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and to advance opportunities for people with disabilities. we're a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and there are 57 million americans with disabilities. we are literally the largest minority group in america and one in every five people in our nation have a disability. the majority of people have a loved one with a disability as well and we're the only minority group that anyone can join at any time due to accident, illness or aging. respectability is very proud to be a member of the ccd, a group of more than 110 national disability organizations that want a better future for people with disabilities. as we have seen recently, overall the disability community is good at protecting
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key life savings advancements. with so many great organizations out there and so many fantastic leaders already in the disability movement already, why was there a need for yet another disability organization? and what specifically is respectability trying to achieve? respectability, fundamentally, is about the opportunity agenda. we know that people with disabilities and the people who love them want opportunities for education, skills, jobs, independence, and a better future, just like anyone else. we want win, win, win bipartisan solutions for people with disabilities and their loved ones, employers, and taxpayers alike. respectability is a nothing about us without us organization and we serve people with every kind of disability. i, myself, am dyslexic, and i
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know what it means to raise a wonderful and talented child with multiple disabilities. members of our team have a wide variety of disabilities and/or disability experience. respectability has high expectations and knows that every person, every person with a disability, whether their disability is physical, developmental, mental health, social, sensory or otherwise, all have something great inside that they can contribute to this world. people with disabilities come from every race, face, age, ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity, region of the country and more. we all are better off when we work to reach our shared goals and dreams of a more welcoming, respectful and inclusive world. over these years, the ada and other key policies have changed physic physical architecture and
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opportunities. however, unfortunately, employment opportunities for people with disabilities, also known as pwd's for short may have not significantly improved in decades. and the negative attitudes about people with disabilities remain. we stand and in some cases roll at an important moment in history. and in some states, only one in four working age people with a disability has a job. any job. indeed, in the cases, there are-- there may be a part-time job and moreover, in some states, it's still legal to pay people with disabilities subminimum wage. the good news is, however, that in other states, the outcome is twice as good, showing that when there are high expectations and best practices are used, wow! success is possible. studies show that most working
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age people with disabilities want jobs. in order for this to happen, we need to close the skills gap, fight stigmas and help employers understand the business case, not the charity case, the business case for inclusion. today, only 65% of students with disabilities graduate high school and only 7% of students who are born with disabilities graduate college. schools need to do a lot better by children with disabilities, but a lot is also up to families and the natural support for children. this can mean faith-based organizations, such as churches and synagogues and mosques, it can be nonprofits, mentors and more, but to me there is no greater joy than being a parent. but let's face it, being a parent of a typically developing child is already challenging. doing the right thing for a child with disabilities, which in my case is the greatest
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pleasure in the world, can also be challenging as well. this is especially true for single parents, new immigrants, and people who are otherwise marginalized. we know that children with disabilities are at risk for school to prison pipeline with education, early intervention, mentors and high expectations are not in place. indeed, more than 750,000 people with disabilities are behind bars in our nation today and half, half of all women who are incarcerated today in america have disabilities. this has a tremendous human and financial cost to our nation. we need to prepare young people with disabilities to excel in science, technology, engineering, the arts, mathematics and other careers, as well as in starting their own companies. today, we will get to hear from several amazing people who are
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twice exceptional. remember that word twice exceptional. they a disability and they have exceptional talent. each of them make me think of malcolm gladwell's book, david and goliath, because traditional things of doing things don't always work with disabilities. gladwell demonstrates that people with diverse talents can find ways to innovate and succeed. in fact, some of the greatest companies on earth were started and are led by people with disabilities. innovators, richard branson and charles schwab like myself and governors hickenlooper and bryant are dyslexic. bryant young, ernst and young. scientist steven hawkins.
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michigan supreme court justice, richard bernstein, clauda gordon, senators tammy duckworth, judy human, john mccain and ada champion bob dole and tommy the one-armed golfer who you'll meet shortly, all have physical disabilities and exceptional abilities. additionally, some of the most creative people including whoopi goldberg, michael j. fox, marley matlin, mark summers and others you will meet today have disabilities. still stem -- starting your own company in hollywood aren't for everyone. we need a wide range of choices. people with disabilities bring unique characteristics to the work places that benefit employers and organizations. amazon, att, bank of america, starbucks, pepsi, walgreen's, wal-mart and others have shown that employees with disabilities are loyal and help them make more money.
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for students with developmental disabilities, who are not degree-bound, but who can legally stay in school until they're 21 years old, we should enable them to have freedom of choice and to let them choose whether they want to spend their last year of school in the classroom or in a real world apprenticeship in programs such as project search. project search is already serving close to 3,000 young people with disabilities each year and they're getting close to a 70% job success rate in competitive integrated employment for youth whose disabilities are significant. project search is thriving under republican governor scott walker and john kasich and democratic governors tom wolf and jay insly alike, this is a bipartisan issue. this apprenticeship allows a worker to have the dignity and income of a job while doing a
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great deal for the bottom line of customer service driven employers in hospitals, hotels and in elder care. again, people with disabilities want to be independent. still, at the same time, some still need to have support and you need to have a system that enables there to be vital supports such as medicaid and personal care assistance, even for individuals who have jobs who do not need any government stipends to live independently. but they should be able to live independently and to work and american public policy should recognize that in our health care and support system, that the dignity and income in the job is so important. but all too often, schools and employers deny young people with disabilities the opportunities they want because they can't imagine that they can be successful. they can't even imagine that
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people with disabilities can be successful. why is that? because there is a fundamental link between fighting stigmas, and advancing opportunities. indeed, i just did a lot of name dropping of successful people and companies with disabilities because research shows that people can't imagine that people with disabilities can be successful unless they see it with their own eyes. we don't want people to think that my speech is fake news. feel free to google all the names and the companies and organizations that i mentioned. it's the real deal. it's time for people with disabilities to be seen on the small and large screens and in society overall for what they can do and not for what they cannot, as actress gina davis says, if we see it, you can be it. if you see it, you can be it. in the past, the portrayal of people with disabilities used the pity principle.
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it started with the framing. jer jerry lew jerry lewis, with the hand up, hand out. there are positive and caricatures of people with disabilities on the small or large screen. this weekend i watched beauty and the beast with our fabulous children. it has hundreds of characters on screen. there was almost every kind of diversity in this new beauty and the beast except disability. sadly this is typical. according to glad only 2% of scripted characters on tv are people with disabilities even though people exist with disabilities are in the country.
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and when there are people with disabilities, there are often by actors without a disability without authenticity of the character they're playing. >> what are the results of continuing pity images, the negative attitudes, stereo types and stigmas that impact millions of children with disabilities and the approximately 300,000 young people with disabilities who age into what should be the work force each year. and let me just remind you that in our nation today. only one out of every three working age people with a disability has a job. only one out of three. people with disabilities are the poorest of the poor in america, despite the fact that we have talents and we have energy to bring to the strength of this nation. but in order for more people to be in the work force, we need more talented people with disabilities working in front of and behind the camera. we need the change the narrative of how people see
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people with disabilities so employers and everyone else can see the abilities that people have and how it makes for a better bottom line. it's amazing that such a small change can have such a big impact. we've seen in in popular emmy winner tv show "born this way." never before has a television program genuinely shown the lives and loves of talented young people with developmental disabilities like this. it's fantastic and we're so proud that this emmy winning show was created by our board member, jonathan murray. it's starting to change the direction in hollywood. we're also so thrilled with the success of abc tv's speechless which stars micha fowler who actually has a disability and an accurate portrayal what it takes to successfully raise a child with disabilities. we also look forward to several new shows starting this fall.
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we want to see stories in hollywood about what people with disabilities can do. think about it. beautiful music from a deaf man? it happened, ludwig von beethoven, freedom from somebody with a seizure disorder. it happened. harriet tubman. leadership from someone with this, harry belafonte. respect the ability. respectability is currently celebrating our birthday. we elected great new leaders and want people like you whether you're watching on c-span to join our efforts.
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along with our board member who traveled from out of town to join us today.
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we can't wait to hear from you and everyone else. before we kick off in our first vip speaker, oley cantos, and better board members and staff and fellows to please rise as you can or raise your hand if you can't rise so people can see who you are. donna and ronald and vivian from our board of directors and other leaders from our team. the people here will meet members of our team and our board. i say thank you for your service and thank you for what you are doing and especially to these amazing board members who give so much of their heart and their time. listen, this is a team thing. respectability as a movement and we are near when we want new people to join us. those of you here in person are watching on c-span, i want before introduced our first speaker, to just leave us with two words from the founder of
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the disability rights movement, justin dart and that is lead on. thank you. [applause] so now i want termite oley campos to come to the front. as he is coming to the front, i want to start introducing him. he is a superstar. he is a personal friend and mentor to me. the civil rights issues for more than 27 years. oley campos presently serves -- thank you. presently serves a special assistant to the acting secretary for civil rights at the u.s. department of segregation. staff attorney and director of outreach and education at the disability rights legal center
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in los angeles. general counsel and director program at the american association of people with disabilities special assistant and special counsel attorney general for civil rights at the u.s. department of justice, price chairman for people with intellectual disabilities for domestic policy under president george w. bush. in addition to his phenomenal professional accomplishment that makes leadership fellas want to grow up to be him when i grow up, oley is also an adoptive dad to three successful blind triplet boys leo, nick and stephen come each of them just graduated high school and each of whom was just elevated this past week to the rank of eagle scout and we are delighted to
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have you here today. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. i am so pleased to be with all of you here today. considering this is the first time to address you from a podium setting in a number of years, i've got to say i've really missed you. it is really good to be back and it is a privilege to be here before you today appeared personal thanks to jennifer for her leadership and ongoing vision in building respectability as a cutting-edge organization dedicated to promoting equality of opportunity for persons with all types of disabilities.
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i stand before you today as a special assistant to the acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the u.s. department of education. over the past several years, the 27 years of work in serving the disability community, i cannot help but think back about all the many ways that life has improved for us to assigning of the landmark americans with disabilities act 27 years ago. when we think back at our lives that most members of the disability community, we remember when things were different then. and in looking at all that has taken place since, we also see in many ways how far we have
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come. there are more employment opportunities, more persons with disabilities today. state and local government programs and services are more accessible. public accommodation are more available and accessible to us in transportation and telecommunication and in areas that have also witnessed significant improvement. and yet, here we are looking at the number of barriers that still remain to our full participation of persons with disabilities. there still remains misconceptions about persons with personal psychiatric
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intellectual and learning disabilities. and for all of us who have disabilities, and we work each day to eliminate old stigmas that still prevail. there are individuals who wonder about the extent to which we may be successful in the classroom, in the workplace as business owners, it better. there are those who wonder even to this day about the extent to which we can be involved in our schools, places of worship and community in general. but why? the big question we must all ask ourselves is why? why after all these years to barriers still remain as they
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do? the answer is because as much as we each would want change to come immediately, as much as we see change in our daily lives and through our actions as much hard to transform attitudes, there are still other forces in the community that still have yet to learn about what we are truly capable of accomplishing. you and i know with members of the disability community and along with our allies, that her legs are limitless in terms of potential leverage. when we infuse our community on an ongoing basis with expanded mentorship opportunities in
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every setting, including within the educational setting as well as internships and employment opportunities and service in the nonprofit effort and a leadership capacity working at every job, ranging from cleaning the office to running it, and therein lies our goal. when we look at this, within the educational context, we think about there are still communities of every size who are crying out for help. there are parents who wonder about support available to them and how their claims of discrimination may be redressed. there are families who are
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hurting. not because the disability itself is an issue, but because of what people think about members of the disability community. and that is why when i look at what we have yet to do, and i reflect on various victories that we have had in the office of civil rights at the u.s. department of education within the past several months. case in point, there was a situation in which students who are blind or visually impaired were to take the psats along with their peers. a school district had offered the psats for free for everybody within the district and yet in practice what ended up happening
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is the students who are blind or visually impaired either did not have their accommodations that were were accommodated in a way that accommodations themselves were not submitted to the college board, which would mean the psats scores were earned would ultimately be invalidated. but because of the office of civil rights and their vigilance, that whole situation has been addressed. the school district agreed to pay for remedial measures to ensure that they may prepare for future tests. the school district also agreed to make policies and decisions so as to ensure accommodation for persons with disabilities. there are yet other entrants does -- instances of victories in the past few months. as an additional example, there
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was a student who was denied the opportunity to live on campus using her service animal and to have her service animal with her. that situation was the state of affairs for two years. but because of our office's involvement, that situation is now being remedied and now that student is able further to live with her service animal on campus. there are so many other situations that i may describe here, literally ranging from physical accessibility of schools and libraries and parking lots in bathrooms to web accessibility to ensure that persons with all types of disabilities may gain access to the same information in the same
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time as everybody else. there is so much yet to do. within the area of restraint and collusion, there was an instance in one school district in which they were hundreds of incidents of use of restraints and reclusion involving dozens of students in which there were various injuries reported. again, as a result of the involvement profits of civil rights, those issues have been and are being addressed correctly. because of the outcome of the school district is changing its practices. it is working to make sure to break from those practices of the past and to train people on appropriate mashers and also it is working to make sure that
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those past incidences don't happen again. the school district is doing more, but there are other instances that are important for us to lay out here. bullying continues to be an issue around the different types of disabilities. one particular instance, a student who had been bullied and harassed by peers was not receiving the services and support in response to that bullying. again because of ocr involvement, that has changed. policies are being reformed so that holiness further addressed in a more proactive way. the student now how is always getting access to a specific person with whom to go whenever there are further instances of
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all eating. there is a climate survey that is being issued and upon which the school district will act so as to further work to eliminate issues surrounding an unsafe school environment. there are other issues relating to discipline and various instances in which students are not treated appropriately and when there are situations when students without appropriate safeguards are being disciplined in a manner that is not exact wayfarer. and so, when we look at these various and then says along with others, these illustrations only
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serve to show that we each have a role in making things better. what if those individuals did not come forward to complain and to tell us about these instances of discrimination. those individuals who are students may still be in dire straits today within the situations i have described along with the number of others. but that is why it is important for us to continue our work and the role of each of you, we must each continue to be vigilant and learning about rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities. we might share the information available for government sources far and wide so that persons with disabilities will know to where they may turn whenever facing instances of discrimination where they are asking for help.
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advocacy organizations consisting not been driven by persons with disabilities must also stay vigilant and working hard for policies and practices and procedures in every aspect of societal life representing changes that will improve the lives of their respect their constituencies. government, nonprofit agencies, for-profit organization and others. we all have a joint responsibility to collaborate across political ideology from communities of every size and including persons of all types of disabilities. that means that when a person who has a disability different from our own faces instances of discrimination or injustice, we
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must all be equally vigilant in standing up for their rights and responsibilities as we are vigilant in standing up for our own. [applause] so i conclude today and opening of time for questions afterwards. i conclude today is the calling of yours, respectfully to call upon all of us who act, never to rest on past victories and always and forever to strive and to stand up for equality in
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first-class citizenship, which include knowing rights and responsibilities of that citizenship. i also call upon all of you to join with me and everyone else speaking here today to redouble our efforts and to expand our commitment to doing whatever we can to move forward in specific ways by hardening are owned accountability is for the greater good to build the momentum further up this philosophy of equality. as we do, we will be able to look back at some point in the future and say with pride how much further we went because of our road efforts to make things better. thank you so much, everybody for
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the opportunity to be here. [applause] >> said this is so fabulous. we'll have questions right now, but goalie is going to be here for little while longer, all day with us so you can ask questions personally. i will ask them greenberg to comment. founding partner of greenberg quinlan research. he is a "new york times" best-selling author and adviser to presidents, prime ministers and ceos globally. he is conducting deep research in more than a dozen countries. in the british prime minister tony blair and president golson mandela that his perfect clients, but i also want to say that i've had the personal
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privilege of being able to work with stanley greenberg for three decades in different capacities in different countries around the world. the work that he did in south africa for equality and people of color in south africa and also to make safe space for other people in south africa with extraordinary work with immense talents looking at the question of disabilities. and so, the disability movement was quite fortunate to have his mind around some of our issues. we look forward to hearing from you. stan greenberg. [applause] >> thank you very much. above all, pollster to
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respectability. that was all building up to what you needed, to the skills you needed to be in the front lines and i'm always admiring gennifer laszlo's focus and energy. when she sets herself out to achieve a goal, i have no doubt we will achieve progress. we had the good fortune to get to a pole together with a republican partner, you know, over the last few years. additionally for public radio, but then for respect ability to look at the disability community, both those with disabilities, does connect then part of that community and begin to normalize and relate to them
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in the context of the political world in which they were being joined in part of the reason you're hearing there were a burden building on capitol hill is because we know their decision is made in institutions across the country that will shape people's opportunities. what comes through in the purpose and jennifer's address in the organization into the fellows another segment in this organization is that believes if you recognize people special talents, provide opportunity that there is no limit to what people can reach. we begin in a political context to bring the disability community into the normal discussion, normal sets of issues being addressed.
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and what you will see in the data is that it first of all is large. pay attention. the numbers of people who report their own disabilities and i can't see the charts. i have to turn this way describes the survey. let's go to key finding. you know, the basic starting point is just don't underestimate the size of this community and how much these issues matter. i think you will see these are change voters and my guess is they are even more so now. their policy agenda matters for democrat and independence across the board. there is strong support for dealing with abuse and
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determination. but in some ways come even stronger for people having the education and a job opportunity that is the key to really achieving a successful outcome. there's a strong embrace of the narrative and the public that is one central to your work, but if people with a lifetime of work, people work hard want to be able to succeed and that applies to this community as well. pay attention because these voters will make their voices heard. finally, because of its current polling data that we have unmedicated and the protests then emerge in the debate over health care reform, the support
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for medicaid has risen as well as the boards for brad if access to health care and i think if we were looking further, we would also say education, the kinds of things that were critical of things that work hard and opportunities. the first, just looking, i know that we have jennifer's data, but this is self-reported data. you see a third report that they have disabilities. we are dealing with essentially half the population that has a disability connection and about half of us do not. we are dealing with a very large portion of the country. when we asked people how interested they are coming in no, what you'll see is people with disabilities in the middle.
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70% are giving the highest score, 10% score on that level interested in voting in the election. right before the election 2016. that they are as interested in people with note disability connection. the next slide you will see these are change voters. we know obviously 16 was no disability, but if you want across to people with a disability connection, that is where you get the highest percentage of people singing they want change. this is done before the election. in an election we know the disruptive election where people voted for change. but the disability community was part of god. we saw where people were hearing what the different candidates
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were saying, but here i'm simply trying to underscore that in a change election the disability community is a community that was most insistent on change. to the next slide. we tested a range of policies. i'll skim through the others. what is interesting as you'll see at the top of that assaults on children and disabilities, it wouldn't be surprised at the thing people most likely to vote for a candidate if they were expressing it. pay attention to the next two because you'll see how important these two are for the disability community at golf and people with disabilities themselves. insuring children with disabilities get the training they need to succeed, 61% much
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more likely to support a candidate comic standing job in her opportunities for people with disabilities that can succeed just like everyone else and they are much more likely to vote for a candidate who will raise those. the next slide you can see that there's also interest and willingness to vote on other issues. hollywood, criminal justice system coming media portrayals. but the things that the top are addressing abuse, but also creating education and job opportunities. if you look than that people who are democrats or independent leaning democrat, it is insuring children with disabilities get the education and job training they need. that is significantly above anything else.
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when you get to democrat and independents who lean democratic, dare you shift to the focus on education and training. republicans are more likely to focus on the next one. on next slide, that is undecided. this is looking out the result on rape on people with disabilities. bettis made the highest. if you go to the next, that is where you see the highest level of support. the middle of people with disabilities, 70% are strongly focused on ensuring disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed.
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it's important to focus on this because this is kids with disabilities themselves. we heard obviously in the previous discussion and that important presentation the issues people face both in work and education institutions. but what does the disability community itself most focused on? you will see what they are most focused on is getting education training in getting job opportunities are most important. we'll see that in the next slide as well. expanded job opportunities. you can see the highest are getting the highest intensity, getting education, access to jobs and to think about this community and this organization is a real connection from a real aspiration for politics and leaders in the size of the
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community who understand the priorities and this need, which are much more aspirational and much less of a victim's mindset among which is central to everything you are trying to inspire. we tested the overall message and theme. looking at these issues. you can see what comes out of the top as our nation was founded on principles that anyone can work as hard or be able to get ahead. people with disabilities deserve it just like everyone else. if you look at the whole range of other frameworks for the issues this community faces, that is what goes across the top. if you talk to candidates, with the message we are trying to give the candidate, we are saying recognize the size and community exchange of voters, but what they are looking above
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all that expand opportunity and for a kind of politics that is focused on their value which is hard work being central to american life. let's carry on to medicaid. we know how important the disability has come to the debate of what was happening in the pre-radical changes that were being proposed unmedicated both in health care, but also in the ongoing budget and how central it is to disabilities for the health care that those with disability community get. this is a measure about
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medicaid. no other description, just the word medicaid. the bold number like on african-americans, people feeling very favorable, very warm about that were very negative. you see the african american hispanic community very strong. if you look at the elect are at, by married women, but gc over 50% giving a warm response, three times as many given a favorable response. white working-class women are one of the groups that were critical to what happened in this election. to do one-on-one versus negative. medicaid is very favorable. people understand medicaid as explained to on long-term care, but they also understand the centrality for disability and
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that was very much part of the pullback from some of the medicaid cuts. obviously it not over at the scene and long-term budget, medicaid is still part of the main discussion. the country is actually very favorable as medicaid. the support for medicaid has risen over the last six months as people have seen. what you discover is people become more educated at these debates are going forward, they become more educated. let's go past this for a time. this is unreadable. it's meant as may be a metaphor. this is the question in which we ask this case, whether it is the governor's responsibility.
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and you see the tracking of outlying overtime. what you see is this dramatic rise over the last six months and the people who say yes. it's the responsibility of government to make sure everyone has health care. what's also happening is the surge in people saying government has the responsibility of the whole range of areas. the education opportunities and priorities in this organization. we have changed election in which the disability community was part of wanting to vote for change to have a policy agenda that people need to pay attention to. we know to look at medicaid and what's happening in health care
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is people value those institutions, organizations that provide the area of health care, education and that is like the context. my guess is even more determined to see changed and it was at the time of the election. as jennifer indicated at the very beginning, this is the one community any time in life. therefore it's a constantly growing community and the content is critical, but also an agenda for the attention of policymakers said they pay attention to the very important changes. thank you. [applause] >> so unfortunately we don't
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have time for questions, but if you have a question come you can e-mail it to respect the ability -- [inaudible] i am going to bring up my next speaker, gerard robins and to join me at the front with one of our newest board members. welcome to our board of directors is a resident fellow at education policy study at the american enterprise institute, where he works on education, policy issues including choice in public school and private school, regulatory developments and expert patient of k-12 laws. the role in education and i got to know him from my tremendous work on criminal justice reform, which has been really exciting on criminal justice reform on reentry.
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the role of community colleges at historically black colleges and universities in adult advancement and a very proud that we have three graduate on our board of directors. has tremendous experience on these issues and we've come to collaborate very closely. he's recently joined our board and i look forward to hearing from you. welcome. [applause] >> good morning. it's always an honor to be in congress to people who are interested in elevating. when we look at the american with disabilities act 27 years ago, the fact that 27 years ago became law. i'm someone who likes public policy and language. i decided to take a look at the
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words of george bush who was then president july 26, 1990. it's interesting because it will set the tone for my presentation. he said today i signed the senate bill 933, the americans with disabilities act of 1990 in this extraordinary year we have seen our declaration of independence inspired throughout eastern europe. it is altogether fitting that the american people would've once again given a clear expression to the ideas of freedom and equality. the americans with disability act how they fall firing of our democratic principles and it gives me great pleasure to sign this thought today. when you mention the declaration of independence, was that solely at 214 years that he signed the law. we have actually pushed forward.
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part of the reason. but also when he was vice president of the united states working under ronald reagan, in february 1986, he received from the national council of disability a report. an assessment of laws and regulations and programs for persons with disabilities. the report played a tremendous role in helping them think about the disabilities needed and more importantly to. i recommend that everyone in this room watching the c-span go online you take a look at forward independence 1986. there's a lot of information in there, to see how far we've moved from 1986-2017. they have educational opportunity long with distinctiveness in the
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transportation, community-based services for independent living, education, children with disabilities, personal assistance and also coordination. there were two of particular interest to me. education would be one, but also employment. it appeared 146 times in that report. a few times he founded under employment. in 1886, the people who finished high schools, one third finished high school at, actually graduated and went to college or to study at an advanced level. but two thirds of the students did not. still not where we want them, but they were in pretty bad shape. according to the 1980 census there were 12.9 million people of working age in the united states. keypoint 7 million people identified with disabilities were not in the workforce
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committee nearly 60%. 2017, a little better than we were then. we still have enough challenges, but we have a long way to go. they had a couple of access recommendations for members of congress. i want you to listen to them and see if you are the same thing today. number one, congress should amend the education for handicapped children act to encourage states to make available and appropriate education in the united states. with a dea changes made. the fact in 1990 we had to push for free and appropriate education for all students, particularly students with disabilities, to many of you in this room that seems like a given. in american history that was not the case. number two, congress should direct the department of education to promulgate and enforce standards for the application of the least restrictive environment.
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fast forward to 2014. approximately 95% of our students with disabilities during regular class and there is a definition for that. we% find themselves in separate classes either public or private schools and 1% find themselves in private schools and the rest are in a different decision. in the 80s and early 90s, trying to mainstream children have been a challenge. while we are not where we want to be, we made some progress and some progress another for speaker mentioned we still have challenges present. third, congress should direct to fund a national assistance center. right now at d.o.e. there are a number of grand and programs that support what is taking place in the states. while we have the conversation, we know it's going to take place at the local level in congress should direct the secretary of
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education and the chairperson of the national council to create a commission with a special report. for a show of hands, how many of you think in 2017 those were recommendations are relevant today? several hands including our leader here. i raised my hand as well. again, we've made some progress but we have some more to go. i have a chance to see this work of the state level having had a leadership position in virginia and florida if the opportunity to see whether the site to work work with students and families with disabilities. nationally we have about six by 6 million students, approximately 13% of the population for students with disabilities. when you begin to desegregate the data, the previous speaker mentioned in his point although 66% of students with disabilities graduate with a
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high school diploma, we look at what they fall under that. 71%. 67% of pacific islanders. 64% as good and with two or more races to 61% american indian and alaska natives. 59% hispanic and 57% african-american and we know that's going to be a challenge. 14% of students who graduate and receive an alternative certificate with a high school diploma that prepares you in some states for postsecondary opportunities as well as jobs. we take a look at the demographics. 17% of hispanics and african-americans receive an alternative certificate. 60% of asians receive it. 11% of white, 9% american indian alaska native and 8% pacific islander. and so we see some major gaps in
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terms of who's taking advantage of the opportunity to graduate but the regular diploma. those who are receiving the certificate. we also can't forget the number of students who dropped out 18% of students who drop out our students with disabilities than we know from jennifer's earlier event is only 7% in college and that's going to be a big challenge for us. when we decide we are going to make this a serious issue, we have to realize it's bipartisan. in 1990, republicans and democrats voted for appeared for the number of senators who did not vote for it, as the republicans and democrats both who said the same thing. this issue is only going to grow with time because the science is helping us as educators and policymakers to catch up understanding what it means to have a child or family member with a disability. the employment community is
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beginning to educate us mourn what it like to have employees with disabilities, what we can do better for policies and programming. we have to realize as we saw from the previous slide that this is a political issue that people feel as very important across the board. i'm glad to be part of the family. i'm glad that it's a bipartisan, really a multipartisan very diverse group of people because we believe opportunity matters we believe that matters to people with disabilities. glad to be a part of the conversation and look forward to the expertise and dialogue. >> thank you. [applause] >> we do have time for a question from the audience. [inaudible] you've done a lot of work on the
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criminal justice system and education. [inaudible] a lower educational payment and not connection and what do you see if some of the things that need to be done? >> we know last year nearly a million case is that the new judges of the juvenile justice level. nearly a million cases. aside from a number of those for students with disabilities. on one hand i'm glad to say partner of justice with 85% of the juvenile justice center's weather that is also hold boundary group home are starting to make sure that the young people who come in are being assessed for disability. some have done a much better job
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of providing service to students and others and so we've got more work to do there. never to come away to .2 million people incarcerated in their prisons, both state and federal across the country. a number of them until another challenges of late. i recently had senator grassley from iowa at aei and we had a conversation about criminal justice reform. someone from the d.c. prosecutor's office said do you realize when they actually come out there's only 10% access to the services they need with mental health and otherwise. it is something that we all know. let's be very clear. this isn't a knowledge problem as much as a political will problem. when we want to change something, we seem to find the money. when we want to change something we have the political will to do so. there is a correlation or we can
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have a causation between students who drop out and find themselves incarcerated. we know a number of high school students to drop out and qualify to 504. we now find them in our prison system. while correctional education services usually provide high school diploma is coming ged certificates in prison and while the college in prison programs in universities or whether it's the work going on in georgia. their son university school working with those in the high school diplomas to students with disabilities to bring them up to speed. frankly not to give them a second chance. so it's a lot of work we have to do and frankly we can learn a lot from advocates, families and those at the local level. judges play a big role, prosecutors and okay and probation officers.
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we've got work to be done, but glad to be here. >> is there someone from the audience at the question? if so, please identify yourself if you are in the audience and have a question. yes. >> of you could see your name and affiliation, that would be helpful. >> of microphone is coming your way. >> was there another question from the audience? >> what i would also like to do is president bush mentioned that july 1776 was to celebrate that. let's also remember in july 1868, congress approved the
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14th amendment and the 14th amendment the cause has played a tremendous role hoping to advance civil rights committeeman writes another right. let's also take a moment to recognize as well. [inaudible] questions of gerard robins then. when people are watching on c-span and they are hearing this information about the number of students who are not achieving a high school diploma, students with disabilities not achieving the college diploma, young adults dropping out of school or getting suspended and going into the juvenile justice and criminal justice system. what can they do to really make these issues more widely known or to create change?
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>> i would say educate, advocate. one way to educate yourself is to take great advantage of the information made available to the public at the u.s. department of education. 99% of the statistics i use here and in fact i'm going to write this up and put it into a report and submit it to jennifer and make it available on the website. the national center for education statistics in may of this year of duty to report that the number of students with disabilities. those graduating current demographic data. look at the state level and federal level and also realized your department of education is responsible for providing information two-year governor in state legislature. that happens every year. in that annual report to congress and the governor, allow students with special needs and struggles there as well.
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third, respectability and a one-stop shop for a lot of information you need. the educate part is they are. make sure when you talk to people you share the information you share with others. there is a lot more we know in 2017 than we did in 1990. again they tell us a great deal. this is a good time to be a part of this movement and even a better time to advocate. >> ray, i have one more question. how do you work with people you don't agree with? right now in america, you know, you have people who vote democratic in washington d.c. and people who vote republican and watch fox. if you want to move legislation like the americans with disabilities act or the workforce education opportunities act, all of that was bipartisan. so how do you talk to, work with and create positive outcomes
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with people you don't agree with across the board? >> for many of the millennial you are too young to have an opportunity to see the federal government in a real way. i would say go to youtube. congress in the 80s and 90s but the partisanship, that there were a lot of challenges. remember, a republican president signed this bill supported by democrats and republicans. here's what i do in 2017. do you believe in opportunity? i haven't heard a republican or democrat say no. do you believe children who of opportunity and access to a great education? do you believe that students with disabilities are in fact discriminated against in the work place? it was so yeah, probably so what exactly how that looks and i say how many of you know someone both republican and democrat
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identified someone and their families, the partisanship comes with what legislation to put together. if we keep children first and put egos on the back burner for a change, if we lead with partisanship, if we lead -- and if you leave with the idea that you're only doing this because it's a sound bite that will help you get elect ed, those are the wrong reasons. i go back to a george bush said in the idea to filing democracy. that is going to happen for bipartisanship. let's start with the question find common ground and then we will find the rule. [applause]
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>> you mentioned about opportunities and policy in education. my name is amelia, by the way. i'm a policy fellow at respectability. i recently attended an event called unshackled, which is women incarceration. senator volcker was there and he mentioned that when you are dealing with the incarcerated population, that upon reentering back into civilian society that they have a 40,000 collateral consequence of having a criminal conviction and criminal record. ..
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we are working with jennifer provide us with information to keep us informed on how to look at federal and state policy and research to make that better. number two, jennifer and i have worked together, she's a part of working group that we have with 52 people across the country, advocates, scholars, policy people but also return citizens. it's tough that conversation about return citizens and not have concerned citizens in the room. they are part of the conversation. third, aei is working on a book and there's a chapter in their
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focused on women who are incarcerated in their children. within that section is going to be a section about women with disabilities and that section is being taken care of by doctor seabrook at the university of baltimore who is a fellow with the society and use she used her fellowship to create a program that worked with woman to address those issues. it's been relationship like this that brings up my literature and research so there's more that aei can do on our site. the part about women -- you have nearly a 400% increase of the women who go to prison and we know that a number of majority in state and federal person who are in prison are moms and they are the economic breadwinner and there the social benefits that are left. we know that 5 million children this morning, 5 million, woke up not to hear good morning from one parent because one. is incarcerated.
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at aei's perspective for the last two years we make little justice and education part of our work were still in the early stages of the partnerships. will get stronger with time. >> thank you, unfortunately, we don't have time for more questions. thank you so much. we really appreciate it. [applause] if you have more questions, e-mail me later and we can connect you up. i'm really excited that you'll meet one of our fellows. we have a national young leadership program which we are very proud of you christopher leave the program and he's currently running our av here but he's a fabulous director of our national policy program. we invite people from across the country to apply for this program for talented individuals with and without disabilities who want to be at the lead of the disability rights movement
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and the opportunity movement of the future. one of our fabulous fellows and it's hard to pick only a couple to speak today because every single one of them is amazing is ryland. please, come on up. every one of our folks from this program is terrific. they've heard 45 vip speakers this year and they are working collectively to try to change the narrative in hollywood to ensure accurate and positive media role-playing for people with disabilities. she's originally from california. as you heard, only 7% of people who were born with disabilities currently in america are getting college degrees and that she is one of the superstars has gotten her college degrees. she is a recent graduate from fordham university where she earned a ba in medications. this will tell you more about herself but she's a superstar.
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come on over here so you can be behind the microphone. were so proud to have you on our team. [applause] hello. i want to start by asking a few questions. when you first walk into a room what do you want people to see and also, how do you want to be perceived by those people in the with you? i asked myself those questions all the time because i am a person with a disability who also wants to dance professionally and live a full life as possible. i have a type of bone dystrophy that makes my eyes light-sensitive so i wear tinted contact lenses all the time. as dark or darker than most sunglasses. in addition to that i wear sunglasses outside all the time as well. i also have.
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[inaudible] my eyes shake back forth uncontrollably and doctors call this the dancing eyes. it works well for me because i'm a dancer. having this makes me trying to do. let's on choose and hold drastic decisions for a long time difficult but over time i learned a trick to help aid that so i use my peripheral vision and i look into the corner -- the lower left corner and i do my balancing with my eyes in that way and i can stay for so much longer and i finally found my balance. it took a few years to get to that point but i'm thankful i dedicated time and trying to figure that out because it equaled the playing field in the dance world. i'm also legally blind. i can see clearly about 10 feet in front of me and for outside
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and you see me and you waive i am not ignoring you, i just don't see you. the last part is that i'm fully colorblind. i see what you would call grayscale. there's note definition or determinant of color. it's just all different shades. i also memorize my clothes. i was trained to know what colors go together and how to shop and all of that stuff. when you meet me or see me for the first time you want to know that i'm visually impaired. i've been two different dance goals for months before i told anyone. whether i am at fordham taking classes or in a performance setting in a new place, i try not to dwell on my vision but instead exude confidence and capability in every situation.
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i do this whenever possible even though i worry all the time the people noticed that my eyes shake or that i do this awkward side to squint when i want to see something clearly. i don't like thinking or talking about what i can't do because of my disability and a few years ago when i was on dancing with the stars they kept asking me what are your challenges, what can't you do and i looked at both of my parents during the interview and said i don't want to say it out loud because i can do so much more than i can't do and i don't want to appear weak for disclosing that. over time i have learned that my disability is such a positive part of who i am and there is no shame and i should not be
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discouraged and i can achieve whatever i want. [applause] by speaking to you today i want to illustrate that the trauma insensitivity that we experience on the inside, as well as the day-to-day activities that we can't experience because of our disabilities, should not detract from how we present ourselves and what we want to accomplish. those things should not hold us back. in my opinion, they should propel us forward and give us an edge because we have a story to tell. there are millions of young people with disabilities all over this country and they all have stories and talents just like mine. in my experience, i have seen that they are discouraged and bogged down by people's low expectations for them.
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the one way i know that we can exceed those expectations is being vigilan vigilant and purse clear that he love, for me that is dancing. there is nothing more than i want to dance on the international packed stage, international stage in a packed theater, pardon me. that is my dream and it will happen. to answer the questions i pose at the beginning of this talk. i want to be seen as violent, the passionate and talented dancer. i want to be seen as hard-working, vigilant and capable in every way. lastly, i want to show my genuine personality, my skill set and my goals, first and foremost, always being ready to share all that i have
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accomplished in the past and to make sure that everyone knows what i will accomplish in the future. now i would like to share a part of a video -- a few years ago i was asked to perform on dancing with the stars to share the story that i shared with you today and it was a life-changing experience. it taught taught me how to become an advocate to raise awareness that people with disabilities can achieve greatness. please, enjoy the video. [applause] most people use their site and they use their meters to see what they're doing and how they are dressing. i know i have to go from what i feel. [inaudible]
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[inaudible] i'm a huge fan of your show and it's amazing to meet you. >> that is cool. you are perfect. >> i tell myself that you can do anything anyone else to do. you just have to work differently. [inaudible]
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♪ ♪
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♪ thank you. this is one of our 15 summer fellows and if you're invested in joining our fellowship program look at us online. we have an extraordinary group of talented people who are with us and we are currently hiring for more fellows.
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she will also be completing the fellowship very soon and is looking for a job in professional dancing. that's her audition tape. i hope that she will be on the stages of the major stages dancing professionally. she, like so many of the speakers say, is twice exceptional. thank you. [applause] i will bring up another twice exceptional speaker, doctor donna walton, founder of leg talk and divas with disabilities. where is her book? i've got it here somewhere. could someone bring me the book so i could hold it up? donna walton is a author of the newly released book, shattered dreams, broken pieces. it's an eye-opening tale of reinvention and tell the story of decades she spent three rebuilding her world and discovering new confidence and a
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french sunset purchase along the way. she's a survivor of a kind of cancer, a sarcoma, a life-threatening bone cancer that resulted in the amputation of her left leg when she was 18. she is the founder and ceo of leg talk and she's an award-winning speaker who helps individuals and businesses fill their full potential. in 2012, this is the most exciting thing -- she launched divas disabilities project. she's helping shape the perception of what disability looks like i promoting women of color through various media platforms and this is very important because when we see in hollywood that only 2% of the characters that we see in tv and movies are people with disabilities, only 2%, they are almost always white as a people of color don't have disabilities, just like everyone else.
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your work is so exceptional and important. you are overcoming what you consider triple jeopardy to get where you are today, living by the motto, what has a leg got to do with it? we are proud that doctor walton has recently also joined our board of directors and she is a friend to us. i bring you doctor donna walton. [applause] thank you for that introduction. it is so wonderful to be able to follow that young woman. you inspire me. thank you very much. good morning and welcome. i am so happy to be standing
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here today before you. when i was asked to be a part of this wonderful occasion my heart skipped a beat because i would have a platform to talk and share my story. i will need your participation, though, to help me get started. when i asked a question i will give you the answer and the answer is not a thing. when i asked this question you must answer not a thing, as loudly as you can. here we go. what's a leg got to do with it? not a thing. >> exactly what i thought when a senior told me that i was less than a woman because i have one leg. excuse me, perhaps i missed something. were you disabled and had you fought a battle with cancer that caused you a limb? were you discriminated against,
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have you lost your job because you have a disability? i'm just a little perplexed here. have you been screened at when you parked in a handicapped parking space? for a split second i was paralyzed by her insensitivity but, like a defeated spider who return to the ring to regain victory, i thought back to dismantle her thinking and to show that her negative perception were nothing and not accurate. i wanted to show her that thinking like this had to be challenged and that women with disabilities are much more than the sum of their body parts, that women with disabilities transcend their disabilities with their beauty and their abilities. this encounter was much more than a cripple, it was war. she declared war because her
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criticism of my disability was a direct threat to the positive perceptions i have worked on all my life to hold the perceptions of women with disabilities that we are much or than the sum of our body parts. and that we are standing in the affirmative, strong and powerful transcending our disabilities. this encounter, as i said, was very important because it was at a time in my life when my identity was in flux. to have someone share that with me was really something that had to take me a lot of years to come back from. that was over 30 years ago. you know, even today it is rather comical and equally disturbing how folks men and
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women view me as a woman with a disability. particularly when it comes to the standards of beauty. in fact, not a day goes by without someone, usually a male stranger who asked me what happened to your leg as if this will make or break the relationship that i don't even have one with. i always get paused when i get asked this question and i asked the question and you have to answer it again what is a leg got to do with it? >> not a thing. >> thank you. i like to share with you a brief excerpt from mike newly released book that jennifer alluded to and i wrote this book to show that it's a memoir and it also talks about the context of my life in respect to reinventing yourself when something happens
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to you that you don't have to be defined by that particular incident. i'd like to share this excerpt because it shows the x -- when these occur when we are young they have indelible imprint on our psyche. back in 1981 when i was teaching an elementary class a seven -year-old student said to me mst married. why do you ask, why do you say that? no man will ever marry a woman with a disability. no woma man will ever marry youu have one leg. if his analysis was obvious. the reason why i share that with
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you is because i didn't know at the time -- i was doing teaching and i was very new at being an amputee and i didn't know at the time the profound meaning that the student comment would have on me today. doing the work that i do and advancing work for women with disabilities. i realized today that that students value system and the view that he had on people with disabilities and women in particular and girls was shaped very early and i also knew that his attitude carries on into his adulthood and these individuals become business owners and managers of company and they still hold those beliefs that people with disabilities, women in particular, are less competent, less skilled and less capable. it was a turning point for me
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because it showed the pervasiveness of stereotypes when they are embedded early in our years. i want to shift to some research that has been shared with me over my decade, as jennifer spoke about, the triple jeopardy syndrome and i won't go too far into it but this is what has given me the platform of impetus to do the work that i do for women of color. african american women with disabilities suggests that a triple jeopardy could put them at a further disadvantage because they are victims of race, gender and their disability, as study show. her research explores what it means to be an african-american and live with a disability. i have that experience. her research showed that we were significantly at a disadvantage. i decided to do something about it. it was very important that that information did not just lay
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dormant and i did nothing. i was denied too many opportunities because of my disability and i knew that if i was being denied there had to be other women of color who are being denied as well. as jennifer alluded to or stated in her opening remarks, employment opportunities have not significantly improved in decades and negative attitudes remained. that would only explain that one in three working age adults with disabilities are employed as compared to 75% of adults without disabilities. it proves that stigma attached disability is very pervasive in our society today. as i began this talk, i wanted to share with you some instances, examples, that have shown me that life is not going to always be a crystal sphere
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and if you want what you want out of life, you will have to fight for it. i decided to fight for it. i did just put the divas with disabilities projects in place. i saw a need and created this form so women of color can share their perceptions and be empowered so it can be a platform for them to change the imagery of women with disability. that is very important, to change the imagery and perception of women with disabilities. not all divas live in hollywood. they live among us; they live in our communities; they live in our families; they live in the workforce; they are in the schools. there are many women with disabilities and they do not always dwell in hollywood. however, they may aspire to be there. i wanted to put the script on women of color and i wanted there to be positive images of
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us. i wanted there to be ways in which someone turned on the television station, perhaps we would be there, we would be present. the divas of disability project helps to thrust women of color into positions so that they can be in the media, in the mass media. so that mass media, of course, would have an imagery of what disability looks like. it doesn't always look like what they perceive it to look like. and that they would take away the stereotypes. it would help demystify some of the stereotypes. in december 2012 when i launched this digital campaign there was very few women aware of this project and it existence. i wanted to take this opportunity to show that there were many people and i started in 2012 and the membership grew and grew. we had over a thousand members, young women of color, following
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divas with disabilities project. i think we have a few of the divas in this room and we should applaud because they showed up today and i appreciate that. [applause] thank you. currently the project is evolving into a major movement. it's for women of color with all types of disabilities and i am consistently amazed at its increasing popularity. we use a term called showing up up unapologetically, showing up unapologetically. we have a vision that we want to see more women of color reflected in mass media and our mission is to shape the perceptions of what disability looks like by remote promoting these women of color in various media platforms. perhaps you are in a position to help us do that. i want to share with you something else. i want to back up a little bit
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and talk about another perception, about how stereotypes are harmful and the misconceptions can really damage a woman self-esteem. i had an instance, a situation, again involving what my body looked like and that happened prior to my amputation. i dated a young man and everything was going well, of course, then i lost track of each other and after my amputation we dated again. well, it seems that every time i would remove my prosthetic limb he would leave my house abruptly. i always try to tell the story that my leg just got tired and walked off one day. [laughter] but it never seemed to work. he just was not comfortable with the pacifi prosthetic. you had to wonder why you cannot
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see past that but then i thought if he is not able to see past that what are other members of society going to do. will they not see past my limb? it proved that they did not. i endured this it's amazing how when you show up that you are judged on what you see. you don't even get a chance to know me for asking what happened to me. it's curious because in our society it's about how we look. it's interesting that if i don't have my cane then i'm not asked any questions because my prosthetic limb normalizes my look, so to speak. as soon as my cane is present and someone sees me walk away with mike and the gate, i'm easily barraged with questions. i'm curious. when something happens to you do
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you ask others what is happening to them? i don't think so. so, i want to talk about overhauling our perceptions and mentalities so that we can advance opportunities for people with disabilities. in order for us to have a major overhaul in the way that we see beauty we must think about it in the way we experience diversity.
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stigmatized with disabilities and it carries on into our livelihood. so this is where i'll have to do a call of action. i want you to be able to, if you end up in a position where you can hire a person with a disability, i want you to think about this. it is by aristotle. he said we are repeatedly -- okay, what we repeatedly do is excellent, then it is not an act, it is a habit. someone should establish a habit. my call to action today to you is get you is get in the habit of hiring qualified persons with disability, whether a starring role in hollywood and the fortune 500 company. and if you happen to be in a position to interview a
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qualified person with a disability, get in the habit of asking, do yourself of course, what does the disability have to do with this and of course the answer would be not a same. for my divas in the room, i have a message for you. i've asked her to do from dr. martin luther king jr. appeared he talked about establishing a blueprint. he said that if you can't be a tree -- if you can't be a bush, i'm sorry. if you can't we abolish coming you can be a tree. if you can't be a highway, just be a trail. if you can't be a son, bsr. and it isn't whether you win or fail. be the best at whatever you are. if you can't fly, then run. if you can't run, walk.
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if you can't walk, crawl. but whatever you do, move forward. i'm going to pause here because i think you may have some questions for me. and you don't have time. anyway, with that being said, i hope you enjoyed my top -- what is that got to do it, be prepared to an aromatic thing. thank you so much. [applause] >> i'll invite lauren appelbaum to bring the family up to the front. while she is coming to the front, i will say a few words about lauren appelbaum because the respectability we have an extraordinary staff.
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we are an organization. we literally only have five people on our staff. that is how small we are. we are tiny but mighty in part about this because of the extraordinary talents of people like lauren. lauren came to us. i've no mourn for a long time, but she previously worked at nbc news and the political unit. she has a journalism degree from syracuse. she has a lot of experience here in washington and is a superstar who works almost 24/7. i will turn the moderating role over to lauren because she's got some pretty special guest coming up here and am very coming very excited to see what we can learn from them. so, let me turn it over.
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to lauren appelbaum. we are going to sit through this session. can everyone cs? great. so, before we start, i wanted to remind everyone who might be watching us on c-span that we are also life tweeting, using the hashtag l.a. to -- if he wanted to ask any questions during the sessions, you are more than welcome to treat a question mind than we can get the questions asked during any of our q&a. i wanted to introduce some very special guests right here. tommy and joe morrissey. tommy was born up most of his right arm, but at the age of three he was deemed a prodigy in today at the age of six who
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travels the world advocating for other live in different children. he began the journey as result of being a guest on the ellen degeneres show at the age or three years old. he has since gone on to win the hearts of millions around the world as he competes against pga tour players that are closest to the pen context of ea has one arm challenge. after many national television documentary commit to features in golf digest magazine and a robust social media following, he uses his platform to help other children get the help they need to fulfill their dreams just as he has. his father, joe, who is joining him right here is a career veteran in the financial services that are, focusing on the northeast demographic. third trader specializing in
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markets for community banks. he became an advocate in 2010 when his son tommy was born with one arm. he serves as chairman of the unlimited foundation dedicates time to both this on another with physical challenges. before we have a chance to talk a little bit more, we would like to direct your attention to the screen for a lovely video. >> this is a big one. this is a little one. of nemo. >> aegis was for golf. he would get upset if we turned the tv to cartoons or something.
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>> it's a cognitive choice to accept different or not. we met people whose parents did not accept different -- [inaudible] this is it. this is us. this is our family. >> when i was 14 weeks pregnant i learned he was going to be born with one arm canal is quite devastating. he had a blood clot and that's what the doc or say happened. he must've gotten caught under my rib and to stop the blood flow. they did a lot of testing while he was in utero to see if there is other health conditions, but thankfully there was not. >> the only regret i have is the
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time that i wasted focusing on what tommy couldn't do, not being able to play a sport or being picked on for just being different. i wish i could take that time that because i lost out on some pretty special moments in russia's pregnancy. >> at about two, two and a half to put my stick on the end and he could really hit it. >> middle of the fairway. >> all right. how are we going to get it there? you're going to aim out there? all right. all right, buddy.
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>> another good ball, buddy. another great ball. he's dirty work it out. he will tell me what club to hit. if you look up there, he's cracked to seeing his shot. what if you got, buddy? >> i'm thinking nine iron. >> right away he was a fan of "finding nemo" and we explained to him he had a short thin. one day -- [inaudible] know, all do this. he is hankering to the golf club. i just thought of it. i use nemo now. so in his mind, he's always thinking of away to adapt to circumstances as a one-handed boy and not to mean i couldn't be more proud of that.
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>> we are also seen a lot more with lost limbs. so he understands he is going to show them how he plays golf because he knows that those people believe that they are not capable and show them that they can play calls even though they all will. >> before we go out to speak to a group. that is our message. our job as parents is no different than anybody else. we hope that whatever path he goes through in this world he's
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happy and successful. >> not bad. ♪ >> okay, we are done. [applause] >> tommy, earlier we were talking about all the times that you remembered playing golf and getting the opportunity to beat the pros out there. what is it that you really want to share with everyone here? >> where i've been in a did the one arm challenges. >> you want to talk about the one arm challenge? >> yeah. i found a one armed contest with
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one arm. [inaudible] i win a lot. >> you certainly do one a lot. >> the first one was a 31 in the second one was 68 out of 48. i did not do so good i'm out one. the first three, almost hit a hole-in-one. so, yeah. >> i know that there is another young child here who came specifically to meet you. what is it you would like to tell other kids who come and see your story and say i can do that, too.
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>> it's a little different. so they don't look at me. so, they want to do what they want to do. they want to do a sport or something. >> would you let them know that everything is possible with the right attitude? >> yeah. >> do you want to say that again about proper attitude? >> yeah. >> so for those of you who weren't able to hear, it tommy was talking about how, you know, the need to have a good attitude and that anyone can succeed. >> yeah.
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>> so, i know your parents weren't involved with children's advocacy until you were born. can you talk about why it is important for people to advocate with and on behalf of people with disabilities. >> my wife and i were not involved as disability advocates. obviously, when life changes, you adapt to the way the circumstance. that is the example we wanted to set for our child. finding out your child was going to be born different than everybody else, there is an adjustment. my wife and i looked at each other and said why not us? why can't we make a difference. we are just a normal family that is trying to raise a child. he is no different than anybody else. the opportunity for us only
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occurs because we quite simply put all the love as a mom and dad that we have into her child. we care about the outcome of our child, whether he was going to be an academic. whether he was going to play the piano or whether he was going to be a world-class chess player. we were going to give him the tools necessary as parents. we would otherwise be cutting ourselves short in life and not is not acceptable. >> what are your biggest concerns for kids like tommy? any children who have a variety of disabilities, whether physical or invisible as they grow up in american society today? >> from our experience, and we said what is the number one thing that we want for tommy? and that is to be looked upon by his peers as an equal regardless of the fact he has five fingers
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and they have 10. when we began the parenting process, we said let's give all the tools necessary. we worked with balloons. we worked with prevent tommy was 10 months old he could catch a ball. [inaudible] >> i had a super far out of the gate. >> he was good at all sports at an early age. we raised our child just like everybody else with the same love you all are giving to your children. we always thought that sports is a wonderful way to build bonds with children. when you have the exceptions of your peers in a sport, it is wonderful how it transforms across the high school, great
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school, whatever it might be. people often ask us, how did you get your son too late golf? re: is there is we didn't. he chose it. he stood up from the couch at 14 months old and started swinging a golf club, just like the guys on tv. they said why not. get him some clothes. lo and behold. he broke a couple golf clubs and a couple lights and a couple of everything in the house. [laughter] but it is our dedication to the passion of our child in bad expands -- >> pair broke the. >> hubert the fan, yeah. he spends a lot of time with my wife for drawing with art, playing baseball. so we are trying to build a child that is well-rounded.
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it just so happened that he happens to be pretty good at the game of golf. >> i know that you and your wife recently started a foundation specifically to help children with missing limbs. can you talk a little more about that? >> we have been incredibly fortunate to have incredible support from various professional organizations that have allowed us to make a difference within the disabled community. we had some wonderful opportunities to go ahead and support others that are facing physical challenges. the ways that we've done it prior to this year, without an organized body and we thought to ourselves, let's formalize it and most just go out and make a difference with as many families
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as we possibly can. there were so many children that can have limbs that saved or have life-changing operations whereby editions can be brought on and we are very focused on helping those families as well as children that can't have the surgery. we will make sure they have the same opportunity that tommy haas. >> my last question before opening up to members from the audience, as we saw in the video, it is very important that people of all ages can see in the media representation of who you are. if you want to talk about what it was like to see nemo with his missing fans, how did that make you feel? >> it felt kind of weird at first. i felt like i needed a bunch
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every day. -- it felt really weird. i was like yesterday when i was going through. i acted like it cut my arm off. >> what time you so eloquently explaining is that we, you know, we are not hiding anything. we cut the sleeves off the shirt. we don't worry about a longsleeved. we put it out there. so i'm different occasions, there is the opportunity to have a little fun and we might've explained his inefficiencies in ways that might not be politically correct possibly. the phishing incident where we
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went sharking for the revolving door and he was trying to explain that he was going to tell the people at the hotel that he lost his arm in the revolving door. [laughter] we have a microphone. is there anyone here in the audience who would have a question? we'll bring a microphone to you. >> thank you so much for your words and thank you for sharing your story. my question is what would you say are some of the most important ways in which her travels to different places has throughout the world has impacted you, your journey and your work and what would you say are some of the most interesting places you have traveled?
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>> indonesia because that was like 43 hours. overnight in scotland. scotland was seven hours in germany was like seven hours and we had to sleep on the airplane all three of those. i was in indonesia when people wanted to take my pictures i said no more pictures. [laughter] >> so, we have been incredibly blessed to travel as far as indonesia and the people there wanted to bring tommy story, the indigenous people and try and knock down some perceived barriers within the physical differences perspective.
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and it was an incredible journey that we just could never possibly have expected. people came from hours away from the golf tournament to meet with tommy in to get his autograph and it was probably the most humbling thing that we have done along this journey. tommy was explaining that you land in southeast asia. you better be prepared to take some pictures. but he had enough one night and he wanted to walk away. without question. >> i was so tired. >> he was tired. without question it is a professional organizations. the country of indonesia have embraced a story that had the most impact. the pga tour has done a fabulous job of embracing tommy story. the ability for a child to go to
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a pga tour event, a pga tour pro is unheard of. he is the first. he really does well in the game of golf. he is considered a scratch golfer. he just shot his low round of 32, which is four under par. >> tar is 36. >> he placed second in the state of florida first date championships. this week we are at pinehurst, where he is participating in world championships. 1500 children go to pinehurst and they compete for world bus. tommy is the first child to ever qualify for world champion with one arm.
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two years in a row, what we like to say if he is creating records. he is not breaking records. there is a tremendous amount of pride that comes in because of the acceptance particularly within the golf community. a byproduct of that is you have an entire community of people that are at every different alternative. everyone that has a physical challenge, mental challenge, they are mercenaries. you are changing people's daily. there might be 5 million interactions during the course of the day and it was a snowball effect. within tommy's battle, journey, the number of people that he viewed his story globally now is 100 million people.
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that is pretty impressive for a six-year-old, right? so each day create a new group of people with physical and mental differences. i couldn't be more proud. >> any other questions from the audience? >> tommy was telling me earlier about some of the people he's had a chance to play with. do you want to share any of that? [inaudible] justin tomas, the guy at the shirt i'm wearing. jerry boyer, arnold palmer, jack
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niklas, tiger woods, randy ellis and justin d., gary woodland. george brian and woody west would. >> impressive roster for anyone who pays attention to the golf world. that is so easy. >> i wanted to present tommy with something. i guess i will set because it is easier. you get a present. i am going to read this. this is a flag of the united states of america and he was
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flown over the u.s. capitol on july 24th, 2017 at the request of the honorable member of congress. this fight is on for tommy marcy and the unlimited foundation. [applause] so this is your own flag and i will gladly put it back in here to keep it safe. the rest of them here on how to take care of it. >> thank you. >> would want to get a picture of you holding the flag was lowered in your dad because this is exciting for us to be with you. if you can still make standing for a minute. i want to be a not shy because this kid is such a superstar that i want to be in that shot of course. if any of our board members or fellows want to jump in really quickly.
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we are very excited. we know that tommy is a six-year-old superstar is so exciting. thank you, tommy. >> after this, we'll be hearing from tv network host mark summers. please stand by. .. [inaudible conversations] ..
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>> because this is washington and there's a lot of fake news that goes around and we don't want people to think somebody pretended to fly a flag over the united states capital. this is an actual proof that this was flown over the us capital in honor of jia tommy so thank you for being with us today and we're thanking lauren for moderating that section. i really appreciate it. we're going to bring up mark summers and we are not going to show video because i don't think there's anyone in america that hasn't seen video of this wonderful tv host. the superstar, mark summers,
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walk down any street in america and you will discover people of all ages will stop mark summers to say hello whether it's daytime or nighttime television viewers, many recognize this multifaceted talent for his wide-ranging contribution to television and a career that has been both acceptable in front of and behind the camera. he's currently hosting the longest running show on the food network called unwrapped for 11 years and some will remember him as the former host and producer of nickelodeon ãand what would you do? others will remember him from his days on abcs home show where he doubled as correspondent and guest host. he's also executive producer of restaurant impossible on the food network. he's also develop a member of our community and we are very proud that he publicly
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discloses to be part of our community because for people like donna walton who's had an amputation or for tommy who has one hand for whom you can see the disability, there are a lot of people who have disability who you cannot see. and the stigma that they face and the challenges they face because they cannot bring their authentic 360 degrees selves to the world is so challenging and summers has been the national spokesperson for the acceptance of obsessive-compulsive foundation. he's appeared on oprah, the today show, dateline discussing these issues and he wrote a book, this book and donna's book,i don't know if that's held in back of me but we are big on people with books . everything in its place. the trials and tribulations of ocd.
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recently created and performed a show based on his life and in october a documentary on his life on your mark will be released and summers and his wife currently are bicoastal letting their time between los angeles and philadelphia and both of their children are in the family business as well so let's bring around of applause and bring up mark summers. [applause] >> you are doing good, everybody's doing so good, thank you for being here today. i learned a lot by being up here and hearing stories, you're right about the silence i guess for the quietness of obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression would be another one as well. we thought instead of me sitting up here droning because i tend to talk way too long and turned into somewhat of a game show that we have dialogue here and you have interviewed me so we like where would you like to start off. >> .
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>> one thing is what how did you decide to go into hollywood and how did you get to be a famous tv host. >> well. i came out of the womb knowing exactly what i wanted to do. i was one of the fortunate ones who knew that the entertainment industry was where i wanted to land. i'm an old guy, one of the older guys in the room so i used to watch something called the ed sullivan show. anybody wants be at sullivan show? ask you for being here and i watch the tonight show with johnny carson and i thought i'd a kid from indiana, how do i get on stage, how do i perform. i learned magic and magic was the thing that springboard my career and an interesting thing about magic and having obsessive-compulsive disorder is in order to practice and be good at the art of magic, you have to do the same thing over and over again. the repetitive action and little did i know you how
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much obsessive-compulsive disorder was a positive aspect of becoming a magician and also becoming a performer. i think part of the reason and maybe a greater majority of the reason i'm successful is because of my obsessive-compulsive disorder. why? because i don't let go of things. i would have people hire me if i promised them i would never call them anymore. just get him out of the room, hire him so i don't have to talk to him anymore. so the repetition and one thing i guess something so passionately actually worked in my favor. >> can you tell us what it is? what it was for you personally? ocd rears its head in many ugly ways. mine was about neatness and orderliness. if you saw the dateline piece and all this stuff is online, i would spend many hours on my hands and knees streaking fringe on a rug and then people often me, why did you buy a rug with a friend john
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and i did not have a problem. so but i would spend many hours doing that. i would sit in my room and clean it and order and put it in order, sometimes for an hour or three hours before i can start working. it was a mental thing, if things were perfect, everything in its place i couldn't work well. this is a hereditary thing. it's predominate in organizing issues from russia, romania, hungary, poland. both my grandparents on my mother side and my father's side habits. i would go to my grandfather's house in toledo and she would to not only in the sidewalk but the street as well. and it was the kind of thing we told the joke, my mom was only i get up and come back and i come back in the bed was made. she would put paper under the cuckoo clock, we used to do all these jokes but it was true thateverything was sony , we would have a cleaning lady come to our house and my father had everything perfect
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and he would tell the lady not to touch anything and if you moved the shoes a quarter of an inch, he would go berserk, he would go nuts and i started to do this when i was a young kid six or seven years old, come home from sunday school and spend four or five or six hours cleaning my room. i would touch each individually, just the shelves. sometimes i would do this to her three or four times and because when you grow up in a home where this is a regular occurrence, he didn't think it was strange i was outside playing with the other kids. my whole thing was about being clean. one of the things and it shows in other ways as well, so people with ocd our orders. some people talk things, the people who have ocd have a rulebook that changes on a daily, weekly, hourly basis and so the thing that drove me and many people ocd are intrusive thoughts. tell yourself unless you do these things in a particular way that something bad would happen. after i got my first i was kicking around la for 15 years before i landed this show that put nickelodeon on
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double there and i started to get these requests to go to hollywood squares. i would have to go from philadelphia to los angeles but i would tell myself if i didn't read a label on a grocery store certain way the plane would crash or unless i was walking down the street in new york and saw something in a building and didn't read it properly that my son wouldn't not get on the soccer team or my daughter would get a park.so you sometimes go back and do these things three, four, seven times. i lived on the 17th floor in a building in new york city posting a show there and i would lock the door, go down the elevator, walk a block away and say that i locked the door? i'd have to go back times two or three or four times, some people do it all day long. there are other people who have a thing where it if they hit the ball in a car they think they killed somebody so they will drive back and go to that spot for hours. we had a woman who was always late to dinner when we would invite her over and she admitted i was over
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discussing my ocd and in the middle of that she called me and said you know why i always late dinner? i have ocd, the kind that i hit a ball on the road i feel that i've damaged it and i have to go back around the block over and over again so you would be surprised. 86 million people have ocd in the country. somehow i think it's grander because the amount of people come up to me and discuss their version of ocd is remarkable. >> how do you work when you have that? how do you show up and put on a show and have a smile on your face and how can you succeed in the workplace? because our organization respectability we are all about enabling people to be high achievers and you clearly have been able to do that so what are your tips for people in how to deal with this? >> i apologize i know i always speak so fast and you guys hate it when i do that. did i do it? you know what? i was just the best and i
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have a passion for something. i wanted tobe on tv more than life itself . so i used to be busy colleges in groups around the country and my opening line is nobody got up this morning and said i've got to go get a job today so it's up to me and it's up to all of us in the room to be responsible for our own happiness. so it's a difficult question for me to ask or to answer because i don't know how i did it. i just did it. i had my eye on the ball. i wanted to be on television so what was the way? first i did magic and magic put me in front of birthday parties and bigger groups in indianapolis. then i started doing voiceovers and then i became a disc jockey and then i went to college in boston and move to los angeles and i got a job as a paid at cvs and became a writer on a show called truth or consequences and i kept auditioning and i just kept pushing myself, motivating myself as the guy on the ball. >> during the process, for
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instance i got married when i was 22 years old, my wife is 21. did she know every week he was going to have to clean the house with me or hours upon hours because we would do the wash, she would folded towels, i would refold the towels, she would refold the shirts, i would refold the shirts. the woman deserves a medal. >> so i just did what i had to do but in the process, i would stay up at night and binge or rearrange towels or i would straighten things over and over again and you will find there are many people in the entertainment industry and also in arsenal all sorts of life work that are successful because of the ocd that drives them. ali mandel who is probably better known as an ocd guy more than me, he got a pass. when i came out having ocd,
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you could be a drug addict in hollywood or you could be an alcoholic but ocd, that was the greatest thing in the world and all it's about is serotonin not getting from point a to point b which causes you to do all these things. i was fine to do hollywood squares and coming back and got fired because they went on national television, hosting a show called over on my time and i expose myself on national tv. next thing i know i'm i'm writing a book on oprah, howard sergio, on the today show and the reputation, this was in the 9596 was that i was not. and i was difficult to work with and none of this was true. >> but i was signed into the promotions and all this stuff for hollywood squares, next thing i knew i was fired and tom bergeron took my place. nice guy, to this day not his fault but the feeling was that i couldn't do this job because of the things that i had and all these things that came long before i talked about it and the reason i guess i came and talked about
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it was the discovery that all these years i've been doing these things, i didn't know it had a name. i had to make a choice the night before when i got the material doing this talk show and i depended did i not have it or do i discuss it and i made a choice to do it. it was a rate major faux pas because it's knocking on the business for a couple years, i couldn't get a job. people were afraid to hire me. and the way i got back to the business was there was a network called pack television which was mostly a religious network and i ended up hosting a daytime talk show in the afternoon. just to get back on television after not being on for a couple years then i started producing television and many of the things that happened in my career were dynasty. the audition for double there was a mistake. a friend of mine that was eventually against got the phone call for the audition. he didn't go, said i don't want to do this anymore. they look to 2000 people, thousand in new york, i the job. i ended up at the food
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network and i had a woman by the name of rosanne gold i was trying to promote and i went in and pitched her show and said i don't know if i want to do it show with rosanne but would you like to do a show? i've been here for 17 years getting along a show plus producing and doing stuff like that so everything that happened in my life has been a mistake and then you have to keep those opportunities and run with them. i would always was always able to overcome whatever that ocd aspect was that pushed over to the next level. >> just so you know listening to that, it's so hard to imagine because many people really when they get rejected you know, they just sort of stopped and they have a hard time restoring so you were rejected a lot times. and you went and you were very open in saying you have a disability and you got fired because you have a disability. so how does somebody really simple do rejection? how can somebody come back
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from rejection? >> in the entertainment industry the answer is always no. it's 10 percent yes. so i don't have that gene that tells me not to be depressed about that, whatever that is. i've had many people, i started at the comedy store in 19 86 with robin williams, i don't know what happened to any of those people. but i kept moving forward. >> but a lot of people gave up because they couldn't take the word no. i went into an office with a jewish executive who told me he would never hire me because i had you knows and until i got rid of the nose you wouldn't hire me. my feeling was, first of all i was at mcmahon and gary collins, both very good friend but i went to both of them and that made mine look like a miniature and i said what you think, should i get it done? if you think needs to be done, go ahead but i don't think it makes a difference in two weeks later this executive was fired and how i always feel. weber is going to reject you is not going to go away and i got to try and throw stuff
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against the wall until somebody says yes. even my eye landed in la in 73. i didn't get double there 86 so there were 13 years of rejection going on there. >> i was a magician the magic castle, i would do 28 shows a week for $145 in 1973 and to pay the rent, forgive me but i posted a wet t-shirt contest at a place called big jaws in long beach or 50 bucks every sunday. but that's what you do in the entertainment industry. you keep yourself going and pay the bills. so my daughter who is extremely talented, has turned into a yoga instructor because she got tired of hearing the word no and i think most of the people who are going to school at nyu, emerson, syracuse, you name the school will not be in the industry. and up selling shoes or working in the restaurant business because when the audition for the first 100 times and you hear you don't get a job, i think i had 105
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auditions before i got my first commercial job, why do i keep doing it, i don't know. i just don't hear the word no and i keep doing it. >> and i guess that's the way i'm wired. >> i'm going to turn it over to the audience and let the audience ask questions if you have a question and you are in the audience, raise your hand and somebody will bring you a microphone. we we have any takers? could we ask questions of the audience at this time? >> you have a question? >>. >> my name is linda grant. >> i'm erica, erica 1212 and has autism disorder along with heart disease. for the most part to look at him you would never know he has a disability. eric's passion is to be a bishop actor, a writer. he wants to be in in the entertainment world, very badly.
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he's been on a couple tv shows. he's been on channel9 news , on the front because of her of gospel magazine but i wanted to ask you, please tell me how i can get him into law school because i have also been told no. >> when it comes to trying to get eric into the entertainment industry. >> tell me how i can do that. >> i don't think there's anyone answer. i think thekey word is , that's tenacity. you've got to have talent so i talked to your son before we got started and he has a big personality.once again i wouldn't have known he had a disability until you told me so there's that aspect of it. there's more opportunities, there's a show called america's got talent right now. and they're always looking for another side, another story besides somebody who comes up and does singing, dancing, jungles, those magic tricks so you have a story to
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tell, have you tried america's got talent yet? >> that's the first place i would go. >>. >> not with them but somebody else that i spoke to in the entertainment industry asked me can your son read to you and i said no. though they thought that in itself was like, i'm not going to be a good thing as far as getting to hollywood. >> don't listen to anybody. >> nobody knows. >> there are many well-known musicians who do not read music. so that's not key. does he have a natural ability, a natural talent. you've got a couple of tds, i can go on youtube and see him on things like that. so it's persistence and not letting go. >> and you have to use every, do you know anybody who knows somebody who knows somebody. wickedness, were going to hold this up. >> this is it. eric, your ego.). this is what you've got to do
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and that's fantastic. i'm going to keep this one, fantastic. >> along those lines marked. >> there's only two percent of the characters that we see on tv are people with disabilities . on television according to glad and all the studies so in almost every time that they are on they are white and almost every time they are played by an actor who doesn't have a disability. how do we change that conversation beyond the oscar hashtag, oscar so white to the oscar so everybody. can we be in the picture to? >> i think we've got to go to the unions. and chad have merged, they have board meetings on a regular basis. i think getting better. i'm doing this one man show
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called everything in its place, live with mark hours which is what the documentary is based on, the documentary on your mark which comes out in october. i would say it's pretty funny. the repetitive actions are quite silly so i demonstrate that. it can also be quite painful and i think years ago, on, oh my god, what show was it? nobody knew what tourette's was and that will bring up all sorts of stories and i think once again it's all about an awareness campaign. when i came out as a spokesperson, i was on every television show and radio show you can imagine. why? because i'm a personality and we could get the word out. so i think it's important for people who have these disabilities to go to agents, managers, writers, producers, heads of unions and just like this meeting is happening here for an awareness situation, maybe you could work with the folks from la who do these unions and say
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we need to have a meeting and you know, years ago when they would have cowboy and indian movies, they never had real native americans playing the roles. so i think all that kind of stuff has changed with political correctness. in some ways political correctness can be a pain in the you know what. playing college now, there's a particular generation, i won't mention them but millennial's who have zero sense of humor. and years ago if you watched the son show there were hispanic comedians, jewish comedians, german comedians, italian comedians and you are allowed to make fun of in the cities. now everybody gets nervous about that and we all need to calm down and remember that we need a sense of humor to get through life, first of all. i think if you guys have done some campaigns together and went to the steven spielberg's of the world and the folks who have influence, this is not a terribly difficult fight to win. >> when you came out about
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ocd, who were the people that were particularly embracing and really you felt welcomed you and your whole self and that might also get excited about other kinds of disabilities and really expanding? >> i called matt lauer and said i'm going to be on your show, here are the things that i would like to talk about. and matt said to me i'm going to teach you something really quick. i'm going to ask you the first question, you don't have to answer it, you can answer anything from that point on and i've never forgotten it. though the today show when matt lauer was very open when it came to having a discussion about this because up to that point nobody had actually done it. oprah was the same way. we did a whole hour on oprah talking about obsessive-compulsive disorder. >> i did an hour, believe it or not with howard stern when i went on that show my wife was scared to death. he said if you talk about anything about our lives personally, we are dead.
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but howard has admitted to having obsessive-compulsive disorder so we were able to have, by the way, you are in the history of broadcasting, say what you will about him, he's brilliant. >> he was very good about opening up and getting the word out so you need to get people in the industry , who have a voice , and who can take everything that we're talking about here today and get the word out to more and more people. this is a nice turnout, we have people on c-span only watching but what you do when you leave here today? how do you see the message going, that's always the most difficult part because throughout washington today and every office building there's another meeting going on about some other issue so how do you breakthrough? that's the most difficult part. >> so important, c-span brings so many new voices to america and i think some of the people watching us on these bad today the show very much by accident, the people
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who are in the room they intentionally wanted to be here, they are part of a disability community, they wanted to talk about disability issues but the people watching on c-span again, they are now part of our family. so what kind of message would you like to give to them who haven't thought about people with disabilities and or who want to get engaged. what are some of the things that they can do or things. think about. >> it's an awareness campaign, to let people know that these things exist. >> okay? and we were talking here about hiring people with disabilities, i always like to thank that i'm from the woodstock generation. i always thought our group was going to change everything, everything was going to be fine. then i thought my son and daughter's generation was going to change everything and things get incrementally better but not as good as we would like them to be. >> your was this young man who was so handsome had such a big finale and he didn't
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have an arm and ayoung lady who doesn't have a leg . it's like today, what difference does that make? look at the whole person, look at their mind. can they do what you need them to do? i was picked up this morning by this nice gentleman here, he says he has a disability, i don't know. i had to push him up and inclined today but that's the only disability i saw. when we are on capitol hill, there's a hell of a hill and when i saw this form and trying to do that and you always want to step back, i don't know when to jump in and i said say the word and he said if you want to help me go ahead.you got to be another reference, gorgeous george. you have to have arms like a wrestler to go up there. so because the man pushed himself up a hill, really? i'm talking to him in the car, he's as intelligent as any human being. you got to get past that no leg, no arm, who the hell
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cares? that's what i think we need to get you. how do you get to that point, i guess repetition. maybe we just have to keep hammering this message in over and over and over again and telling people that that's the way to do it. >> i'm talking to about 80 percent of the people in this room, some of you i guess you have disability center here but once again, i couldn't tell. unless you hold a sign that says i'm autistic or i have ocd or i'm depressed, chances are people are going to know so i would make a big deal, i wouldn't walk in the door and say hey, i have a disability because there's no need to bring it up. going to get past that, we are all just people. are all just people. >>. >> anything else.? >> yesterday. come down here. what's your name sir? >> my name is eric holds. >> we are finding different ways. to go to extremes, outside.
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how do you find a way to let other people know. >>. >> some people are never comfortable with your disability. >> and people to this day will make jokes about you know, me floating a pillow and bringing, the big thing was we would have people over for thanksgiving and when i wanted people to leave i would bring up the vacuum cleaner. and as soon as i started vacuuming, you knew it was time to leave, mark, i've had enough. and i think it's a sense of humor that's key to the whole situation. i had a friend, we were best friends. but when he was done, his wife loves to throw parties but he was neater than me. he would flashlight three times and get the hell out of the house. though i think you have to be clever and smart and have a sense of humor about it and also make fun of yourself. because i do when i was doing thesethings , they weren't necessarily normal, whatever that normal is.
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>> but as my wife used to say, when my driver daughter used to have kids over, they would color and they get crammed on the run. i would bring up the rug cleaner and starts rubbing it and i would say, don't do that. and it was hard for me not to do that but then i couldn't wait until the kids got out of the room so i could do it. i'll tell you one story, you'll believe this but it's true. we moved into a new house in california and my son was turning out four or five years old and we were going to do a birthday party. new wood floors, new walls, do everything and i said this to my wife, i'll take thekids to disneyland, we will go to universal, i'll fly to chicago, i just don't want all these kids in the house and she said were going to buy the house and use it so i figured out out all the five-year-old kid was . and i went and bought butcher paper. i lined the entire house with butcher paper. so that way if they put the fingerprints on the walls it
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would get on the paper and so word got around the neighborhood that i had done this and literally everybody came over to knock on the door and borrow a cup of sugar that they would look at and say really? so you get a reputation in some way so it was not really too many of the people in the neighborhood and i use it because i knew it was ridiculous. the only way i knew how to deal with it was when a sense of humor.you make others around you feel uncomfortable? that's where the dividing line is and you have to train yourself . and i went to behavioral therapy classes. i also believe this. i've never done any drugs. but i know people who have those kind of problems. they have to get rid of them before they can. i was in my behavioral therapy classes say what really issues that we and they would say the same thing, and i can't get past it.
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i don't know about you guys but i got to get out of here. i finally left, i couldn't do deal with it. through the tools that i learned in that class. so i also think there are way beyond disability that we have ocd or some of these serotonin situations that if you want to get rid of you can. you can't grow another leg and you can't grow another arm. and that's where we have to get the american public that there is no difference. we were finding mental things, everything in this world is about education and until we educate the people of that we can do, we are stuck. but i'd like to use me as an example and woody allen, howard hughes had, he was an
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eccentric man but he was very intelligent. there are many more people out there who have these disorders who have been very successful and what drives them, what motivates them , awareness, awareness, awareness, let the world know we are no different than anybody else. >> you mentioned big names in hollywood that can comment on this issue but maybe you can give us a 101. >> we know the membership of every kind of thing will help the law a show show related, we know that so tell about union and what is a show runner and who are sort of the rules the people in hollywood that could make decisions that would change the world for people with disabilities? >> how does it show get on
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the air, i've been doing it for 40 years and i'm not sure. it's right place right time, what are they looking for is the question. the food network for instance, the first big star on the food network is body lay. body play 20 years later is a big star. he's the guy you go to and bobby i don't think has ever had an unsuccessful show . rachael ray, she is a massive star on the food network. the guys producing television now, bobby is producing television and as we have a network there sort of an open door. find out who those celebrities are on the network, certainly if you could get oprah, this woman pulls off magic tricks and she's one of the premier exceptions to talent in the world. oprah wants, or projects. she owns the network for gods
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sake so one would think at least the people who work with her i also wish i was as rich as everybody thought i was but i think that if you find yourself with somebody who has clouds, the musical chairs when it comes to management may not be there and next 3 to 5 years. but network presidents and people in power in the entertainment industry, the show runner has a different meaning, i'm an executive producer and that means i'm responsible for working with the network, i have to budget , i hire and fire and the show runners generally a person who executes the day-to-day and make sure
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everything gets produced but that's different from the game that is in movies and sitcoms. there's alittle differentiation in each . i was giving advice, go to the president and there's a book that's happening, a new president is about to happen. have a meeting with his people and let's see if we can open up that door about people who have disabilities and while it causes disabilities and do a story on somebody who's been successful. dancers and here's a very talented attractive young lady who got on dancing with the stars. how do you take it to the next level? i would hope that would help what it's all about getting the word out.
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nobody got up this morning and said i want a job so if you're going to sit at home and hope somebody's going to hire you that will never be the case. >> double there when i first came to la i wouldn't have gotten this because seasoned enough but when i auditioned i was 33 years old, 13 years under my belt so i was ready to knock it out of the park. timing is also essential as you get one opportunity to present pressure but you'd better be ready when that door opens because you're not getting back in that door again. whether you have a disability or not. >> are there any more questions from the audience? audrey in back. >> i'll come back to you. here i come, don't go away.
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>> thanks. earlier you talked how it has been an issue going up, and one thing, i wondered if there was some thing you weren't expecting to deal with that you had to work to sort of figure it out. >> you say humor is a big part so what other things have you adapted to be accepted issues when it comes to your disability? >> good question. every day is a challenge. for you, for me and maybe everybody in this room. when people say were you
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cured from ocd, i'm 80 percent you are, i never 100 percent sure. i still have an issue walking into grocery stores and reading labels. i tried to stay out of those situations so when my wife wants to go grocery shopping i say have a nice day, tell me how that goes. if you know there are certain things that bother you and you can avoid them, that's the issue but there are other times when you are aware which is what i think what you're talking about and how you deal with it? i guess from strength. everybody in this room, i feel is a little bit stronger than everybody outside his office building. why? you have to be. your entire life you have to deal with stuff that outside these wall people have had to deal with so as far as facing things that are the onion known, i'm not worried about you. you're smart, articulate you got it all going for you and if you take two steps back because you can't figure out that moment, you will be
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fine, you will figure it out. >> you're welcome. >> . >> it's amazing to have you here. >> . >> flag is also floating your honor. >> see how neatly is a, that's fantastic. >> i want to put it in a box because i don't want to mess it up. but thank you very much, this is an honor and i'm so grateful to have this opportunity to get the word out and all you folks and i hope that you have a great day and a wonderful afternoon. >>. >> mark sommer, he's just so fabulous. listen guys, we run a tight ship around the scheduling here. so i'll tell you how it's going to work. first of all, leah daniels butler is here in the room. we are so excited. stephen thing is is also in the room. we have some great speakers right after lunch, in fact and brought her mom so we are glad to have her here and her husband is here, i see eleanor cliff is here, also speaking this afternoon so the way it's going to work is we're going to have a short
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break. going to go have an opportunity for people who want to use the cafeteria downstairs but our team out front can give you directions how to get to the rayburn cafeteria and we will start sharply at 1:00. we will start sharply at 1:00. for those who are in c-span let me invite you to check us out on recess ability.com online. we have a leadership program we are hiring for, we have 15 wonderful superstar young leaders but that we are looking for a new applicant, mark summers, you are terrific. every speaker was terrific, let's give them all around of applause.
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>> and in the way? >> we will bring you back to the conference right after the break and again, it was

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