tv Equality for People with Disabilities Forum Part 1 CSPAN July 31, 2017 1:07pm-3:12pm EDT
the second part is to advocate. make sure when you talk to people to make sure you share the information and tell them to share with others. a lot more we know in 2017 than we did in 1990. i think this is a good time to be a part of the movement and even better to advocate on behalf of children. i'm looking for a next guest speaker. i'm going to introduce, first of all, welcome back. i am president i respectability. respectability as a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. this next section is going to be moderated by her board member, stephen james and i really quite delighted about that because
stephen is such an extraordinary leader. he is recognized and served as a expert on disability, health care policy. more than 20 years experience in managing policy issues for diversity and currently he advocates for diversity and inclusion within the entertainment industry. he particularly enjoys bringing his expertise and policies to the entertainment industry. he believes the entertainment industry can be an incredible ally and clearly has proven that today by bringing the extraordinary lead daniels butler to be with us today and he is going to introduce us, her to us and asks to her. enjoys leaders throughout comcast and writer skills and tv executive producers comment after comment letter appeared he has a long line of experience and expertise from when he was
in washington. he used to be here where he was the highest-ranking person as a political appointee during the bush administration. i want to thank him for his work at the department of health and human services where he was deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation for disability aging and long-term care in his previous work at the national institute on disability and we have researched and there's just so much more you can say about him. i will also say it's been a delight to work with him because he's one of our original board members from our board of advisors and we've been working with him including recently in episode on the way he was sent and i want to say stephen james, we're very delighted you are here. if we can invite you to come up and sit next to him, we will do a speech.
it taught me a lot about life and working with people on both sides of the aisle. i think what happened is i believe the entertainment industry is such a powerful force that changed my mindset for the better. i've been working with leo daniels butler, now working with viola davis and her husband and on the writers guild of america to really show the marketability of inclusion of all people, color, gender, disability, whatever because we are a part
of the fabric of america and despite our challenge is, we have differences that should be appreciated. i want to introduce my dear friend leah daniels butler. we are like family actually. you know what, let me just say that too many times communities work in silos and ask why are you working with leah? why are you inviting viola? i say, you know what, we need to build a bridge and everybody needs to cross it together because if we don't break down the barriers, we will never make change.
and what not, i will introduce my dear friend, my sister leanne. [applause] >> hi, good afternoon everyone. i want to thank jennifer and everybody on the board of respectability. i have a speech, so this is a little different for me because i do where can i safely hollywood. i work behind the cameras, so this is an aim new for me being in front of the cameras here and i'm going to do a friend told me to do and speak from the heart. i do have a guideline if you will. as my dear friend and adviser steve has pointed out, and the producer, most notably for the
critically acclaimed feature film the butler committee academy award-winning friendship and fox television show and higher. nearly two decades i've been committed to champion the inclusion representation of diverse acting color, gender or disability that has recently led to being appointed a national board direct your for the casting society of america. spearheading the diversity and inclusion committee. is evident through my brother shows and movies, we're focused on is or is that reflect the hardship immunities that the black and all gpt q. community space. reaching out to me when they wrote into the characters on empire that live with hidden disabilities. we all know that talented people with disabilities such as harriet tubman, ray charles, stevie wonder, just name a few can have an everlasting positive effect on the minds of many.
stephen has served as a content expert on disability and making the case for disability inclusion of the business sense. thanks, stephen. we in hollywood need to build a network of actors, producers and other key players for disability and color in the entertainment industry towards increasing storyline development and hiring said the abysmal 2.5% representation on tv in 0.9% in film is change for disability in black communities. the foundation and the usc annenberg center 2016 have done studies with similar statistics according to the u.s. census 2016. 20% of the united states population are 50% are living with disability amongst the population are the most talented people on earth.
one year ago, stephen connected me to the diversity team. did i ever thank you for that? i want to say thank you again. one year ago, stephen connected me to the diversity team which led to a successful roundtable on disability inclusion. it is my professional intent to ensure that when a highly talented actor with a disability is available for hire, whether able-bodied, character or disabled that they have an equal chance for higher. furthermore, i recognize an actor with a disability could have so many roles typically built a able-bodied actors. the decade of employment and equality must end. our csa national -- i'm sorry, csa national inclusion and diversity committee is currently partnering with the diversity department, inclusion in the art, glad, california association of the media
committee, naacp and other advocacy groups to develop the conclusion to be distributed via the entertainment industry this year. this guide and a-z covering a broad spectrum of diverse communities will detail how to be fully inclusive with the casting breakdown and hiring process and finishing with helpful tips on how to prepare your production for inclusivity underneath of the shoe. the committee offering free events were diverse communities culminating in a national open call later this year for disabilities, veterans and some in actors. committee is planning the introduction of a bi- annual inclusion and diversity expo in hollywood featuring vendors from a wide range of organizations to act we advocate for inclusion in diversity in the art followed by a panel discussion featuring
industry professionals and the development of an inclusion and diversity training program targeted towards casting her as can the studio and network executives, and producers. thank you. [applause] >> let me know because it is mia. we'll use this in the interim. >> okay, i guess we will go to questions. any questions about what is going on in hollywood are where we are getting as far as
diversity or more important as lee has stressed is that we are not really worried about diversity. it is more about inclusion. really. it really is. we are a diverse country. it is about opening opportunities for all parts of society. >> there's a lot of questions and i run around with a microphone. >> hi. can you talk about somebody who you think is doing a good job in hollywood with inclusion? >> well, i think leah and her brother and also shonda ryan. shanda is unbelievable with regard to disabled, all gpt.
it is amazing. there are excellent people in hollywood. leah is very important to suffer because without leah, these producers can't fill the roles. and so, it's apparent to pick the person if you are disabled and you don't have talent, you're not going to get a job. let's face it. we can't approach the industry as a pity principle. we have to higher the rate purchase for the role. >> who are the people you would pick that are really the trendsetters? >> i would say i have not worked with them one-on-one, but the
production team for transparent are really doing a good job. i think also this is as, the production team from this is us. there are quite a few that are doing a lot. i think it starts there. obviously as i was saying it starts in the narrative. he tried to get them to understand you have to write these stories so we can include actors with disabilities. a lot of times it is not on the page, so then it becomes the director is part to try and get them to consider selling his soul for this. >> i'll give you a personal example. as you probably all know, twin peaks is back on showtime 25th anniversary. just to show you, director david
liz called me one day to testify and said hey, do you want to be on twin peaks? i said what? but anyway, i was on the first episode in the first half-hour of twin peaks that i gone on for three independent films, which is really good for actors to do independent films. i did a music video with rappers are big sean. i was a principal and now we are going back to hollywood in doing a movie with another famous actor. so a stimulating the idea that it doesn't have to be always an
able-bodied actor. >> i landed in l.a. in 73. tv was a rare situation. sammy davis junior would do an appearance on all in the family, but that was about all you can get. now is that i represented by william morris when you bring a project and the first thing they say is let's take it to michael strahan's company, lebron james company. these are things that didn't exist even five years ago. who wrote hamilton is doing a remake of mary poppins. hollywood i think sets the boundary can open doors quicker than anybody else. the diversity that is going on quite honestly, the movies you mentioned up for academy awards with women from nasa. to hear these stories and you go my god. it was in my lifetime that was
going on and people are not made aware of the situations. one of my dearest friends i went to high school with, a great, great granddaughter amanda walker was the first black millionaire. by the way, a woman millionaire by creating hair products. in the black community she is a goddess. absolutely. i have been friends for a gazillion years and she's finally getting the movie made about madam walker which is another part of our history that 99% of the people -- [inaudible] >> somebody you know. opera was going to do it and then whoopi and then it went by the wayside but it's happening now. thank heavens for you and your brother and all those people finally accepting that. there's so much diversity and production companies now we have
gone leaps and bounds. how do we make that happen in the rest of the world. where else can you make that happen? >> do you want to answer that? >> man has been? >> my husband kind of said it best in the interview. especially in the black community we have to be accepting of it. a lot of times please be certain things under the rug because you are embarrassed if your kid has a disability or learning disability or reading disability or whatever they have instead of getting them proper health. that is one of the big things we have to recognize is not to be ashamed and accept it and try to get the help is needed. >> we've spoken about the training and writers everyone
from makeup to costume to the logistics to all the other components a critical element as well. to have that sensitization in the advocacy really has to be there with the entire production. before i met steve, i just didn't know. i shouldn't say i didn't know. i didn't think about it. it wasn't at the forefront. wednesday brought it to my attention, i might you are right. how come we don't see disabled actors in television more often? there is a show along time ago. i can't remember what it was,
but it featured an actor in a wheelchair. i can't think of the show. no, no, that is way back coming dating me. it was something done and i was really surprised how you don't see that more often. behind the scenes as well is just raising the awareness. there has to be somebody that has the talent whether it is hair, makeup, crew, script, whatever that is an advocate for that and step out for those people. >> also, what leah is singing is it is also behind the camera. i am working on the writers guild of america and disability committee and we are working on making sure more writers with
disabilities get jobs and also directors. jennifer knows i have a friend, jenny gold who is the director and we did a movie together about the history disability across the decades. it's not just about being in front of the camera. the most important job in the industry are producers and executives. until we get more executives with disabilities, we are not going to see the change that we really need. believe me, when i work with nbc as an advisor, i can tie you it is nasty because they want to
see return on investment and they can't market to a big base, forget it. you really have to change the mindset. >> we have so many questions but i'm going to have them one after another so i can go around the room an answer. if you can quickly only ask your question and i will get a bunch of them together. >> hi, i am a fellow -- [inaudible] given the fact that even to this day the number of people working in hollywood as actors are still incredibly low. either schools granted so they can be qualified, et cetera and bring up the numbers. >> georgetown university -- my
question is when it comes to cross pollination ideas, who is said -- where exactly do you define things like best product it says? -- best practices? .. you talked about disabilities not being talked about when i was growing up but i found while learning in my masters program that i have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as well
as a few unseen disabilities. i'm an actress and a producer and i have an interest in casting. i appreciate what she touched on and steven touched on in the agency that you are starting is going to be directed only to actors or people behind the camera, as well, because i greatly have an interest in getting involved in that. >> will go to the front and i'll ask this young man and then i'll let you answer. then we'll go to the side of the room. >> hello. he's been dying to see you. thank you so much. >> is an honor to meet you and i
want to give you my two cds. my name is eric and i want to be an actor, bishop and so many more. i've got two documentaries out. >> i heard your mom speak highly of you earlier. i was back there. you've a lot going on for such a young age. >> thank you. >> thank you, eric. >> i will answer, i think, your question first. correct me if i am wrong. was the question about the training for the actor --
[inaudible] okay. that's what we did what we did the diversity thing. we held a huge workshop where it was geared toward actors with disabilities. myself and a few of the other -- all of the casting directors on the board of directors for csa casting society of america and then we also reached out to other casting directors who work in society but don't sit on the board. we held a one-day workshop, morning and afternoon, we split the cast classes up in each of us took a group of maybe 12-20 actors with disabilities and we worked one-on-one with them in classes. that's what we are hoping to continue. you are right. if you do have to have the proper training. it can't just be because you have a disability you expect to
get hired. you know what i mean? you have to have the proper training and that's what were trying to do. were trying to have these ongoing classes we can teach them the skills that they need so when they come in and audition they will be prepared and ready as opposed to, i don't know -- [inaudible] >> you can't go into casting room, you need to know the protocol and if you don't understand that it's not going to work is ideal. i just auditioned for cbs, a primetime drama and you just go
in there, do your lines and that's it. just get out. you have to understand that you're probably going to get to know but it's okay because you'll fit the role that was meant for you. >> which one of your favorite movies that you directed? >> that i cast? one of my favorite movies. so many. you know, that's like taking a favorite pair of shoes. i don't know i guess i'm dating myself but the very first time i saw my name in the credit and i always refer back to that because that's probably the most dear to me because that's the first time i was in a movie
theater and i saw my name scroll up. it was so quick that if you blinked you missed it but it was the first time. i was cd4 and it was a spoof on yeah, that's a long time ago, yeah right? one of the films that i really enjoyed the butler because i was able to learn a lot that i didn't know and do a lot of the research and casting. that was probably the one. >> hi, nice to meet both of you. first i want to say hi to my mom because she likes your movie, the butler. my question is why do you think it's easier to have this kind of thing happened, i forgot, i'm sorry. i was excited. >> take your time, i was excited to. >> do you think that people
today more open mindset to it or have less prejudice or is this generation more accepting and realized that everybody is equal or what do you think is the difference that helps to push this sort of thing? >> that's a good question. >> going back to the pipe in question. when you go into in addition, steven, is there a lot of individuals with disabilities you are going up against? >> zero, yes. >> have you seen across the years increase? >> it deftly has increased. i think for -- when i am doing a new show that is airing on bet called the company get down and
there was a character that came up for a role that was a wheelchair user and when i put the breakdown out it was for a specific age. it had to be 18 years old, he had to, you know, so, originally the producers we talked about it they wanted an actor and i said, why not get a real wheelchair user. why are we casting this with an actor in a wheelchair? i work on the diversity committee so you can't do that. i have to be able to explain this. [applause] so, we did meet a lot of actors but the problem i did find and i'm just being honest is that if i'm looking for a certain age group there's not that many. there may be a ton of wheelchair users but they're in their 30s or 40s so it is finding that specific age group and getting
those actors trains. there's still a lot more to do and yes, there's a lot of actors with disabilities but in certain categories when you break it down the description of the character they have to be able to fit that the story in the narrative, too. there's so many things that come into play with that. that was one of the biggest challenges i had. we were able to find this hilariously young guy who was a wheelchair user and he was so funny and hopefully i'll catch it the small. to answer your question, i do think that yes, today's generation is definitely more open and i have a niece and a nephew who were raised -- it's a long story but my niece and nephew are my one brother's children was raised by another brother and they are a gay couple and they raise these kids in their household and i noted
that they are so much open, they don't judge and they just want to experience more. there are more well-rounded because of, i think, their upbringing in the things that they were exposed to they are not so quick to judge. yes, i do think this generation is helping with that. >> hello, my name is sunshine king. for years i've been trying to get into the industry. however, coming across where now if i see a casting from you, for say for example, i can't get there because i have to get through an agency. however, the agencies are not opening up people with disabilities. how can we get past -- it's like the stubborn secretary, how can
we get past them so we can actually apply ourselves to your productions? >> i'll give you a tip that i give actors in general. i'm not going to treat it as if you're an actor with a disability but as an actor without an agent. in that instance, what i tell actors who don't have representation is that you have to do the groundwork yourself. you have to seek out the casting directors the shows you want to be on. if you know what show you want to be cast, what network do you see yourself being on there so many problems, and he, lifetime, fox, there are so many different platforms and not only that there is the new media with netflix and amazon. there's so much content out there that what do you, as an actor first and foremost, see yourself on. that's first. when you find that out the route who is casting no-shows and
submit your picture electronically. every casting director that i know of has some sort of social media platform. i know i'm heavy on social media. lb gt casting anyone wants to follow me. i wouldn't say stock them but just remind them, gently remind them that this is why am, this is where braun and you never know, when your picture comes across the desk could come across at the right time. i've seen the same dead card come across but the one time it comes across my desk, i'm looking for this person at this time. to the groundwork yourself. >> there are's actors access is casting for tier. >> now casting.
>> your headshot and resume and do your homework about a talent agent. you have to do your homework and be persistent. again, you have to be persistent the right way. >> my name is renée carter. if someone with disabilities was interested in the background, video production, that type of thing, where would you even start for that arena? >> that's a good question. i wish i had the answer to it but it's like i said earlier, i think, if there are people with disabilities who are already working in these areas you have to comport, you have to be an advocate for it otherwise will never know or people will never fight for it. what we are doing with the csa's
were trying to do our part with actors but there are other groups coming of the directors guild, the writers guild, you have every one of the behind the scenes that are in the union that make up the production team they all have unions and i think what they have to do is try to find someone that will advocate for them. >> also, one of the best companies are. [inaudible] in disney, abc, they are very big on hiring a diverse workforce. >> yeah, they are. they are committed. we are committed to casting actors with diversity. >> that also is for production. apply for an entry level job and
work your way up. >> thank you so much for being here. steve, thanks for facilitating us. my question is with all the knowledge that you will have to share it with those you know in the industry, are there efforts to create a toolkit that will bring together all of these pieces for actors and actresses and people who want to be a part of the support with directors in other people who have talent in the industry? in addition to a toolkit that will centralize all of this, are there efforts to create even an informal database with people with disabilities want to submit their information so they can tell you about their strength et cetera so that later, as doors open giving people opportunity, then a few people from our community will actually have an entrée and say here, we have several thousand it was the profile you need. by the way, we have a pipeline that's coming to the colleges
and universities as well as people in the broader world. are there any efforts on these fronts? >> i don't know there is specifically for what you just described. i do think that's a great idea and up the database, you should start it. that's a great idea that someone should start if it hasn't already been started. i do know that what the casting society is doing with all the other advocacy groups we are trying to sort of build that community. hopefully, our first event. not sure the exact date but before the end of the year and it will continue and grow and build and all you will hear about this but i think it's a great idea and i thank you should start a database and get it out there.
[inaudible] >> i will add onto that. respectability is a new organization and that's one of the things that we want to help with anyone in hollywood that wants to work on that and we put on our website are some excellent schools that are in la and specifically work with people with disabilities. david zimmerman and others are specifically working with disability and real activists like danny wilburn and pam dixon who are working to move this
word. what we have seen as both leah and steve have talked about is the diversity movement has been in silos where there's a group of people that want to see representation in the lgbt community or the asian or hispanic or african-american community but one thing about disability is that it touches every single community so we really see ourselves as a potential convener of all the different silos of people who can work together because, i think, the disability community is far stronger if we can lock arms with other people who care about the quality, inclusiveness and celebrating the diversity of life in america. i will take moderators privilege and ask a question of leah who has children. it's a non- hollywood question. you know what it's like to raise
kids and voice and not every mom wants to believe that the disability and that not every aunt or uncle or whatever -- what is your message to other parents who may have a kid with a different, whether a physical difference or an intention deficit order, what can you say as a parent or some advice that you would like to give on these issues? >> what i would like to say, as a parent, i touched on it earlier is to not be afraid to get the proper help that your kid may need. as my husband stated earlier, we have a son who just made it in the nfl. he's a new orleans saints. [applause] thank you. at a very early age, we were
told that he has add and we didn't, we were so against the medication. it was like we didn't want to get it for him. we didn't know, at the time, that he couldn't -- he was a smart kid but we didn't know that he didn't have the attention span to finish the school work and finish what he needed to do in order to get the grades we knew he was capable of doing. it didn't happen until middle school. this bundle of energy that was so quick of doing everything, we thought he's a genius but then it came time to pinpoint it and he couldn't. when we got the information he didn't want to deal with it that way. i would say to parents don't be afraid to do that. if your kid has a need, don't be afraid. sometimes it will be a mixture of things.
it may not just be one thing but it may be trying out things but don't be afraid to do that and talk to somebody about it. talk to other people about it because you sparked the conversation and then other people are afraid to talk about it. once you start talking about it, it opens up, okay, i am too. once we got him on the medication he didn't want to tell anybody at school and then when he realized that everybody at school was on it he thought it was almost school. there were so many kids that weren't afraid to talk about it but we as parents need to be okay with it and once we let them know that it is okay it's not something you should be ashamed or embarrassed of. that's my message. >> i want to invite you all to give a big round of applause to leah and to steven. thank you so much. [applause]
going to be mentoring high school students for a day and giving them advocacy and leadership opportunities. sharing your story and not settling for a lesser option is real important. >> i would agree completely. we really need to have better conversations and not be able to be afraid to talk about. we need to have people who are able to raise her hand and say i'm a top performer, solid
employee but i have a disability. we know the most of disabilities are invisible so breaking the stigma around invisible disabilities that people with disabilities are just like everyone else. we also have to continue to provide resources to our employers. one that i want to mention that just launched in may that you can go to the website workplace initiative .org and it is a free online resource for companies that provide 100 pages, do-it-yourself guide on how to start a disability inclusion program. whether you are just kicking one off or you are advancing a disability inclusion program within your workforce it's a great resource. there have been lots of conversation today about learning disabilities, adhd, and lots of people have talked about it in one of the resources that the foundation has helped together is geared specifically to parents with kids with
learning and attention issues called understood .org for 2 million unique visitors each month they are access to experts and research in the hopes that we can get this into the workforce. >> since i spend most my time with journalists and politicians i think about those two worlds in particular. how we need to do a better job about taking these issues seriously and reporting them with some degree of completeness. i think of a valuable lesson i learned the hard way from years back when i heard rush limbaugh or some commentator happen to go ape over the airlines being careful about peanut allergies and banning peanuts from flights
and the commentator said, this is outrageous, once again, intrusion into private lives and et cetera et cetera. i thought this was great column material. i wrote what i thought was a hilarious column about these united airlines folks and government folks taking peanuts away. a day or so later, i got a very interesting and poignant e-mail from a fellow journalist, newspaper in the midwest who had an eight -year-old daughter had a peanut allergy. he described to me, in a reasonable compelling letter, described to be in graphic detail what it's like to have a seven -year-old daughter in the seat next to you changing color not able to grieve, swelling in the face and it was quite
poignant. the point of this all was that this is not a joke to a lot of people out there. i took that with me and ever since then i think twice about anything involving people with disabilities because we don't think about these everyday incidences when all the talk comes up. we hear about political talk about those how much to regulation and those regulations involve assisting people with disabilities. it involves helping more americans to be productive and folks like my friends charles and others who because of various aids that are now under architectural building permits and laws and regulations are able to be fully functioning and productive citizens and so i think the matter here is, as i mentioned again, to do more
research and change the language. i think we also need to change our attitudes. >> definitely. one of the things that struck me was that we truly need to take this seriously and it was shared that we need to share our stories. i'd love to dive into that a little bit as far as what are some valuable ways, some strategies that we can use to share our stories. what has worked? i'd love for folks to chime in on that. >> social media. [laughter] she's more of an expert on that than i am but that's a primary way. >> yeah, i would deftly say social media is a great way to go. i also think that taking it more on a professional level in terms
of establishing with different organizations and companies and an efficient and awesome way. for example, i get to work with and travel with pharmaceutical companies and i get to work with them and have this discourse and share my story about how we bridge the patient is a pharmaceutical gap. in addition to that, i get to do a lot of traveling opportunities. i feel like using all your platforms whether that is reaching out to news outlets or writing blogs and trying to share that content, i think it's important. >> as i said, i think companies doing this all by dq beings, were seen a lot of ceos, executives stand up and say that i have dyslexia or i have epilepsy or whatever their disability is and not being able to afraid to share that with
their staff and say that i'm a person with disability and i'm able to be successful in the workplace even at the highest levels and perform at the highest levels. from a practical standpoint, one of the things we talk to companies is making sure that you don't have things in your job description that will allow people with disabilities. and people with disabilities can actually apply online and start having better conversations.
>> before i guess continue with some questions and dialogue, i did want to reach out to the audience, just over what we cuffed thus far. does anyone have any questions or would like for the speakers to ex-pound on any other comments? the gentleman back there. >> i'm with the d.c. innovation summit. what are the opportunities, either for people with disabilities to serve themselves and others, by creating products and services, and what are some of the opportunities for others to serve this huge community, and are there federal and state incentives to -- as well as possibly foundation funds available to help create this broader consensus for a huge number of people. one in every six americans?
>> sounds like a meg question. >> at the family foundation we work with national nonprofits and companies to help them expand their disability inclusion program and we have what we have pulled together as a funder collaborative, nine other national foundations that fund disability issues, and it's really a learning lab for us. we share types of projects that we're funding. we co-fund together projects. all with the focus of employment outcomes. the workplace initiative has been up and running since 2014, and we set an aggressive goal at the time of 7500 new jobs for people with disabilities by the end of 2017. that goal is staring me hard in the face as we approach the end of 2017 but we're at 6500 jobs now so i feel confident we'll make it by the end of the year. so all of that to say there are
a lot of foundations and more and more foundations are getting focused on disability, there long has been a disconnect between social justice and disability. you have seen a lot of foundations that would fund health care or poverty, all of these things focus on individuals with disabilities, so disabilities becoming more and more front and center for founds looking to fund disability-related issues. >> i wife you don't mind you mentioned the disconnect between social justice and disability. i'd love if some of the panelists would dive into that. why is that disconnect there? >> i think the disconnect is there because, as i said at the beginning, disabilities very much been a forgotten diversity segment. we as a country have not been particularly nice to people with disables.
we have spent time institutionalizing them, paying them subman wage, all of these things made them less than, and putting people with disabilities away because we don't want to see them or we think they're not capable and we need to take care of them, well, we have a huge cultural shift that is happening right now, and culture doesn't happen in a moment. it happens in a movement. we're at that point in our movement of really making a shift of seeing people with disabilities as confident, capable and established, but that's going to take time, and so we've had that disconnect because disability has not been seen as part of the social movement. >> to the left. >> hi. i'm lee, here from los angeles, representing the rosie's foundation. we're a social enterprise, we flipped a short school bus into an ice cream truck to create jobs for people. a question for the panel.
what role do you see social enterprise playing in not only reaching out to big companies and looking for jobs that aren't necessarily making accommodations but how do you see design and designing for people's abilities as something that can help us all move forward in the future? >> we're seeing that in a lot of -- in both big and small companies. so social enterprises is a great way for small business owners. we though the majority of companies or employers, those that run small businesses so having that focus is a big key as well, too. we're seeing foundation funds, social enter prize that high lots of people like yours, individuals with disables. something i raid about a bakery that is run by people with disabilities. their families came together and happened establish that. we're seeing a lot of customization but not customized employment, and what i mean by
that is, we have big companies and u.p.s. is a great example in louisville, kentucky. put together a training facility specifically designed for individual width disabilities in their distribution center. so everybody gets to try it before they buy it to see if they like it, works with them, the individuals with disable do they like the job? what happens at the end of the three-week program is u.p.s. as a pretrained, prescreened employee who walks in the door. there's a case study of the u.p.s. study on the initiative.org web site. another shameless plug. and we have about 20 other case studies on the site that are cross-industry, really describing what companies are doing and return on investment for individuals with disables. >> i have one question before i good back to audience that i'd like to address to the panel. meg, you mentioned the work of
the nine foundations that truly came together, which i think is just amazing, and as we talk about truly changing minds and hearts and truly fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities, it's going to take an all hands on deck approach, and that being said i was wondering if some of the folks on the panel could weigh into what does working together look like to sort of advancing opportunities like what does partnerships look like, how can folks truly work together, and maybe even some unwedded bed fellows come together on advancing opportunities for people with disables. >> i'll leave that to someone else but i want to point out that one phenomenon that has forced the society and the government to really face up to
people with disables is the results of two long wars we have had, and veterans coming home, you know, maimed externally and then suffering ptsd, and the effort to find them jobs. president obama undertook a very aggressive initiative to consider them for federal jobs, but this is a challenge that the country faces, and it does require us to think more imaginatively in terms of job opportunities for people with disables if we're going to serve our veterans, and other people are going to benefit from that increased awareness as well. >> i would also like to add to that. i think the biggest thing is we need to find common ground. not all of us have disabilities
yet, or we may never get to that point, but i feel like a lot of us know people with disabilities so my brother has epilepsy, my wife has this or that. think if we're able to relate to one another because people with disabilities face similar challenges within society. so i think being able to find the common ground and working together on these issues is good. good. >> i would just say i think we need to be as a imaginative as possible. i recognize changing times. i remember way back when i got into the newspaper business, you remember newspapers? that was something we used to get the news that was delivered to your front door. a very quaint custom that lasted 400 years, and when i first came into the business, when i came to the "chicago tribune," noticed we had a lot of people
who were hearing impaired, working on the floor with the big presses, and this work out very well for them because it's so noisy that being hearing impaired didn't get in your way. it was actually an advantage because they all new sign language and could talk to each other while the presses were rolling. now we moved into a new era without presses put we do have computers, and that gives us more flexibility as far as what is a workplace. now folks don't have to necessarily come to a central place in order to work. they can work from home, and can take advantage of the new technology in different ways now. i think probably one of our biggest mistakes we make in talking about or thinking about people with disabilities is thinking about it as a charitable act or thought. as you heard today, it's part of our society, part of the economy, part of our ability to have a society where everybody can live up to their full
potential, and so we should think in positive terms as to what can this person contribute, what can we do to happen everybody to be more productive. >> definitely. right here. >> i think in previous panels we have kind of discussed the newer generation of the -- kind of more accepting nature of inclusive environments, so i was wondering if the younger generation -- they see any difficulties with the newer dieng ranges with the exclusivity and accessibility when it comes to the older generation. >> so that's a great question. thank you. i think that definitely our generation is a lot more open about talking about our disablities. i feel like even just a few years ago i was very, very closed about talking about my
own condition so i would tell no one i hat ulcerative colitis and that was difficult because you can't explain why you miss so much school or have a pick line, i think that just being able to share your story makes others -- other people more receptive to your, i guess, disable in a sense. i think to answer your question more fully i think our generation is considerably more accepting in terms of being able to empathize with each other about our differences. >> i'm darrin coal, poly fellow at joshes first nyc. part of the job as a school teacher in d.c. and i taught many kids with disabilities. you're so impressive. it's incredible. and i see you and i want my students or my past students to be as confident and as comfortable with their
disability as you are. how did you get there and what would you say to other children. >> thank you for your question. like i mentioned, was very, very quiet about my disability, us ative colitis. wasn't in a socialized relation because i was so sick. had almost literally just talked to my parents for a few years of my life, which obviously made it difficult to be in mainstream society. so, the biggest way that i was able to really come out and share my story is through briley hospital for children. being established with that hospital and being an o'reilly champion, telling my story, i think helped with me becoming more confident and sharing my disable, but i think even for younger kids can just being -- getting them to be really open about and it giving them opportunities to really be at the same level as other kids. it's really difficult. a lot of the school systems
don't want to -- don't have the resources or don't want to accommodate for people with disables. so -- or students witch disabilities. think that making sure and fighting for them, they can still go to same leadership conferences and take the same amount of ap tests. that's really important. thank you. >> could you address the impact you feel with the strong influx of transition youth, the young adults as they conclude their school entitlements, training, internship, and we hope they're better prepared to enter the work force' and how that's been addressed in your perception of how successle and sustainable that's been. >> it has -- i assume you might know this since you're asking the question but has been almost a national crisis level for us in the u.s., that transitioning youth that may not be
college-bound, may not actually get a high school diploma but get a certificate. and many instances we see them in their parents' basement without a real plan of what to do next. jennifer has led a huge charge in helping influence the wheel in each state and that has been having impact. we're seeing programs in various states, like georgia, that are really aggressive in their school systems. they have one of the lowest graduation -- of kids with high school diplomas, and they've really, really struggled. they have rallied around with the vr agencies, the school systems, working together to make an impact on that and have real career learning opportunities. so, it's slow and there's so much work to be done still, but it is something significant that the entire nation needs to be
focused on. >> yes. >> hi. this question will go to -- following up with the question that he asked, i would say it's not very common to have such young professionals as yourself to be advocating and doing all the great work you're doing. so, i would like to hear more -- you mentioned what got you to get to that level but what keeps you motivated and also what challenges are you facing, have you faced, will be overcome in the future if more people are talking about their disability and the challenges they face. >> what was the last part? >> any challenges you have encountered or obstacles in society that you think will be -- will change if more people
talk about their disability and are advocating for themselves and others. >> so i think what keeps me motivated is my own journey and being able to interact with other people. think that everyone carries sun an amazing story, and i've noticed the more i have been able to speak places and been able to enter act with people with chronic conditions and disables and hearing each individual story is amazing and comes from one of my best freshed who passed away. his motivation to really keep fighting for people with inflammatory bowel diseases is something that keeps me going and keeps me very humble and my own advocacy journey. in terms of challenges, i think that some obstacles include being able to have people with disables at the same level that
we hold to normal people. i really want to see the bar raised for people with disabilities and want to make sure that we are holding the school systems accountable, holding the doctors offices conditionability to be the mentors and the change that the agented that can propel the change. so, yeah, think that really being able to see more people, students with disablities in i guess higher ranking tups would be something i really want to see. >> i want to ask the group one question before i turn it back. before i do, i want to say that i did have an opportunity and -- to speak to some of the fellows earlier this year, and one of the things was discussing was, one, i think what is really missing in our political and our public discourse today is people who truly don't listen, and i am
a firm believer that listening is truly an act of compassion. you can't empathize with someone or truly understand something outside of your own circumstance if you don't allow yourself to truly listen and engage. however, on the other hand, people truly need to feel empowered to share their own story, and be persistent and truly force folks to listen, even they don't want. to be proud to tell your story. i'm look at one of my board members here, with disabilities right here, who has done just that. so, i thank you for the insight you just provided. one thing i do want to ask before i hand it back to the audience, because i know we have about ten minutes left, the
future of disability in america, when you think about the stigmas that are presented from hollywood, all the way to, like, here on capitol hill, how special needs and disabilities are discussed. where do you see the future, and you can be as optimistic or as pessimistic as possible, but where do you see the future and what do we truly need to do to achieve that future? you can start,. >> like i said i'm new to this panel and actually sitting here and i'm asking myself, i hear, i think, very broad definitions of ditchability. i don't -- there's no such thing as a perfect human being and so we all have a disability of one
kind or another. what kinds of disabilities are we talking about? is there a particular focus? we're sitting in a building, part of congress, which passed the ada, which passed osha, and exempted itself from many requirements. even this institution has made all kinds of adaptations that weren't here when i first came to washington. so, i don't know if somebody would want to tackle that question and give me an answer, how broad is the word "disability" and should we be narrowing it or is the point of the exercise to broaden it so people really see it's about them, it's about everything.
>> see the future of disables is positive. if have been in the chronic and disability space and there have been so many great outcomes. right now as as far at respect ability i'm writing the advantage of hiring people with disabilities and the diversity of thought that exist is with people with disabilitied. when we're adding different perspectives, we are expanding a company's outreach and their ability to think in a different way and that's making us more compassionate and more inclusive. so, yeah, that's what i would say. >> but the work that we do, we are cross disabilities so it's everybody. it's people with invisible disables, physical disabilities,
mental health issues, what you can think of, that's what we now cuss on. the family foundation does have an interest in those with learning and attention issues because it was founded by fred and nancy poses who have a son that has learning and attention issues so they wanted to help other parents along that journey, but we do in our workplace work with all disability groups. we don't discriminate. >> sorry, i was looking at news flash. mr. scaramucci is looking for new employment. getting more publicity than the boss. back to the topic at hand. you're right on top of it. think as far as my outlook for the future, i'm optimistic. as dreary as days can sometimes look, i'm optimistic that people
are more and more enlightened because there's a basic fundamental fairness that americans have and a basic respect for the individual and the notion that everybody should be given the opportunity to be all that they can be, to steal a popular slogan. and that underlies everything. our most controversial debate is bathroom debate around the transsexuals, and at the same time, we saw last week when this popped up at the pentagon, again, very reasonable about it and said, nothing has changed until we go through the regular procedures, et cetera, that they have always had. have enabled thousands of transsexuals to contribute in the military and being an army veteran myself i appreciate how well that happened, and how the army teaches us, the military teaches us that if you want change, get it at the top and then the lower ranks will follow.
that's how leadership works. and what we need are good leaders in this area, and we can all contribute to that cause. >> we have a few more minutes. we have one question right there. >> i'm anthony brown, 2017 white house correspondent school and representing howard university and the inspector general. my question is for the panel and also to eleanor and clarence as the journalists. whether it's changing the atmosphere in a corporate setting, and taking new talent or investigating and writing a new story, how do you infuse and facilitate this conversation on persons with disabilities, provided simply being political correctness to fill a quota or making progress and equitable cheng. >> i don't think this is an issue that has a left and a right.
i think there is concern about political correctness because there are in terms coming into use almost constantly and people don't want to get it wrong. i think reaching out to people across the political spectrum is an imperative and i think there is recep receptivity across the spectrum, based on experience. you can be the most conservative people and think the government shouldn't be involved in helping and then you have a child who needs help and suddenly your views change. we have examples of that. so, i think it's an issue that is ripe for working together, which is what everybody says they want. so, let's see if they really mean it. >> anyone else wanted to weigh in on that? >> i think you said it well at the beginning when you said it's about listening to each other.
so, yeah, there's the fear of political correctness. everyone is worried about saying the wrong thing. i don't want to offend somebody. but if it's pausing and listening to the stories and really understanding how that individual's disable impacts them or doesn't, and just having the better conversation. so i think it's really listening to one another. >> i wanted to ask about the healthcare vote because mccain got a lot of attention for his vote on health care but it was two republican women senators who really carried a lot of water on that issue. disability is disproportionately a women's issue and i wondered if you could talk a little bit about that. disable as fundamental women's issue. >> you're right, it was the women and -- the republican women in the senate who were the holdouts, consistent holdouts, and you could also add senator cap by to from west virginia,
she voted with the bill at the last minute but also said she didn't come to washington to hurt people. when you consider how few women are in the republican caucus, the fact they were overrepresented in sort of the empathetic caring about what the bill does to ordinary people, says something about women's role in society. and women are more likely to have disabilities, if only because they, we, live longer and if you don't have one to start out your life, you're very likely to end up with one, and women are the caretakers in american society. they take care of the children with disables and loved ones with disabilities and it's an issue that they can't hide from even if they wanted to. and clarence talked about the people in -- who are incarcerated and how many of
them have disabilities of one kind or another, and that percentage is extremely high for women who are incarcerated. think it's close to 50%. so, this is a women's issue, and back in the day, if it was a women's issue it would be shoved off into the corner and maybe you'd have one or two champion lawmakers who would go to bat for you, but women's issues are actually in vogue today. corporations are -- want to cater to women. we have buying pawer, voting power, and i think women own this issue, and that can be a very good thing. >> i think we have one more question and then we have to wrap it up. >> my question is for the general -- the panel in general.
i'm a proud two-year policy fellow for respectability, i was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome when i was 15 years old and we have seen a lot of advances in disability rights and issues for the better -- but any opinion we're still yet there. my question is this. respectability -- there's a growth toward, shall we say, catch-all movement in the disability movement, meaning moving away from individual organizations with individual differences like autism or cerebral palsy because of the concern we're putting home in, as we like so say, silos. how would an organization that is -- works to cater to people
with disdissables, can we not put people in silos and dealing with the -- getting the individual needs done because your typical person on the autism spectrum more often than not need social needs to be addressed, someone with spina bifida need their physical needs to be addressed how much does wound achef the balance even though the end goal is all the same? >> sounds like a meg question. >> i feel like i've been doing all the talking. we're seeing a lot of companies stat with autism or neurodiversity movements and it's kind of a hot thing right now, and so we -- we encourage companies, start where you're
comfortable, start where you are, usually most corporate initiatives begin with someone that has a passion around the top pick and -- topic and when mass a connection to somebody with a disable. when you think about the s.a.p. program, that would started because there was a father of someone who had autism and they started autism hiring and that has spun off to microsoft and other organizations doing it, and now you've got ncr in atlanta who that's neurodiversity initiative. didn't want to just focus on individuals with autism or aspergers. i want to term do you your brain is different, stroke survivors. so we're seeing bigger mom movements happening but we encourage companies to do cross-disability hiring, make sure that the infrastructure
supports are needed are in place for all disables, whether it's physical barriers. i went into a company with a friend of mine who is a wheelchair user and it was company touting their disability initiative and some went to use the restroom and had to come out and say your bathroomed are not accessible. there are things like that seemed very basic, but it's about looking at the full spectrum and what parts of your organization doesn't touch the individual with disability and are you truly giving them full access just like everybody else would have. >> i want to thank the folks in the audience that attended the conversations today. i want to thank my fellowboard colleague that are in attendance, and if i must say so, i'm very optimistic about the future of disability discourse in this country,
mainly because of the work of my fellow board colleagues and the work and the -- inside of the panelists here today, and also to the work of our senior fellows sun -- the senior fellows present with us here today. want to thank our panelists, for being here with us today, and thank you so much. [applause] >> i want to say thank you to thank you new chairman, cal harris and repine everybody on c-span that respectability is a relatively new organization. we're only four years out. check us out at rerespectability.org and we're on facebook and twitter. we're looking for young leaders with and without disables who
want to work with us to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disables. it's been a terrific day. the speakers throughout the day have been phenomenal, mark and donna and everybody who spoke and the crowd who is with us is just amazing, but those who are with us on c-span, you didn't know what you were going to get to watch today. we hope you were really inspired and you will join us in this effort. so i do invite you, check us out online, respectability.org, we're looking for volunteers. we'll be out in california, working on hollywood issues and a great initiative in long beach, california to work on jobs for people with dip -- disables. get in touch. a new organization, the future is bright for people with disabilities. steve king and everybody who is with us, thank you so much and just want to say, congressman brad sherman is amazing for helping us get this room and
organize this event, lauren but together so many details. the fell load under the direction of christopher and ben and hillary and phillip from our staff, you guys are all rock stars so i just want to say, really, thank you to all of you and i want to invite all of our speakers and our board members and our staff and fellows who currently here, if i can invite you to the front so we can take picture but thank you to everyone who joined us on c-span or here in person. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> ending today's conference with a group photo here at the respectability conference. you, watch all of the speakers from the conference on disables on the web site, c-span.org. some new from capitol hill on health care. a coalition of house republicans and democrats, calling themselves the problem solvers caulk, plan to release fixes for the current health care law they hope will game traction after the senate failed to pass a repeal. they focus on stabilizing the insurance markets and then pushing for changes that have gotten bipartisan support in the past. you can read more details on the plans online. politico only.com.