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For far too long, people with disabilities have lacked representation in popular media. It’s time to do something about it.
 
 
 
 
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Share our video and help create a movement. #VisibilityForDisability

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Our open
letter

 
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Where other minority groups have made significant progress in recent years, people with disabilities still struggle to have their lives portrayed and their stories told. Over one billion people worldwide have some form of disability. The world’s largest minority group is also the least represented in popular media. Disability is part of who we are as humans, and it’s time our culture reflected that.

The Calgary Society for Person’s with Disabilities has always empowered us to live our lives to the fullest. Disability doesn’t define you — we hold jobs, play sports and are active in our communities. We don’t want your pity, nor do we want to be portrayed as heroic just for living. Our lives look a lot like yours — complex, imperfect and undeniably, beautifully, human.

Many of you reading this will never have the opportunity to spend time with us — to hear our stories, to appreciate our perspectives, to see how we live. That’s why it’s so important to have truthful representations of people with disability in the media we consume.

We’re calling on you, the content creators of the world, to pledge your support. Whether you’re an emerging filmmaker or the head of a studio, an ad agency or a brand manager, a TV producer or a Youtuber, yours are the voices that ripple through our culture. We encourage you to stand with us — to commit to giving people with disability a voice, to commit to increased representation in all stories, not just those specific to disability.

We also call on you, members of the public, to ask more of your media. When a person without disabilities is cast in a disabled role, take to social media and remind them of the alternative. When your favourite TV shows or brands miss opportunities to tell truthful stories of disability, let them know they can do better.

 

DISABILITY
REPRESENTS

 

NEARLY

20%

of North Americans

 

HOWEVER

 

ONLY

3%

of TV characters have disabilities

AND OF THESE

95%

are played by non-disabled actors

 
 
 
Imagine if only 5% of female characters were played by women? There would be wide-spread outrage.
— Ruderman Foundation
 
 
That disabled actors are ignored to such a degree that they are not even given the chance to play disabled characters is testament to how normalized the exclusion is.
— Frances Ryan, Columnist, THE GUARDIAN
We are conditioned to be outraged when we see race being exploited onscreen. When we see a disability being exploited onscreen, we are conditioned to applaud.
— Scott Jordan Harris, Film Critic, ROGEREBERT.COM
 
 
By excluding people with disabilities from society and expecting them to live silently, on disability and in poverty, we are cutting off a major life force that could infuse great insight and ingenuity to all our lives.
— Eileen Gruba, Actor/Producer, Sons of Anarchy
We have to keep pushing. Develop your own projects, get involved. The disability community can’t sit and wait.
— CJ Jones, Hollywood Actor, BABY DRIVER
 
 
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HIRE
SOMEONE

WITH A DISABILITY

Whether you need someone in front of the camera or behind it, inclusive workplaces drive creativity and unlock potential.  

  • Hollywood inclusion toolkit.

  • Resources for entertainment professionals.

  • Employing writers with disabilities: a best practices guide.

  • The Disability List: the 10 best unproduced scripts featuring the disability experience.

  • Lab program for entertainment professionals with disabilities.

  • The Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge.

  • Hiring persons with disabilities in Canada.

  • Employer Assistance and Resource Network: Primer on Disability Inclusion.

 
 

in partnership with:

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