Posts tagged with "civil rights activist"

Solange Highlight’s African American Disabilities

As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African Americans with disabilities. Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African Americans with disabilities. The full piece provides statistics relating to employment, education, criminal justice and more.

Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. RespectAbility will be sharing content throughout this month – and throughout the entire year – highlighting additional African Americans with disabilities, including some personal pieces from our own team members.     

INCREASING DISABILITY INCLUSION IN HOLLYWOOD

Maya Angelou, Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations

– Tameir Yeheyes, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

Maya Angelou had selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma they endured. In the five-year span that she experienced this, her listening, observing and memorizing skills improved and her love of books expanded. This helped her later when she began working in becoming successful in her career.

Halle Berry: Living with Disability While Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Halle Berry is an advocate for ending violence against women, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, and has been fighting for virtually her whole life.

Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott ‘Works it,’ Serves as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

At the height of her career, Missy Elliott experienced a dramatic and dangerous weight loss; she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which attacks the thyroid.

Deafblind Lawyer Haben Girma Advocates for Disability Rights

– Ryan Knight, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

The first Deafblind person to graduate from law school, Haben Girma stated that removing barriers for herself helped in her journey to becoming a disability advocate. Her disability advocacy is not restricted to education; she also uses the media to decrease the stigma in the community.

Whoopi Goldberg: Talented Actress, Comedienne and Talk Show Host Lives with Dyslexia

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Reading scripts and writing books as often as Goldberg does was hard at first with her dyslexia. Like she did in elementary school, Goldberg found it easiest to have someone read to her so she could memorize the lines for her scripts. For her books, she dictates instead of writing before sitting down with an editor to adjust the language.

Actress with Cerebral Palsy Diana Elizabeth Jordan is Veteran of 17 Shows, Shorts and Movies

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Diana Elizabeth Jordan, actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.

Solange Knowles: Role Model for African American Performers with Disabilities

– Bryan Munguia, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.

Jenifer Lewis of ‘Black-ish’ has Coped with Bipolar Disorder by Doing the Work

– Litsa Dremousis, The Washington Post

Jenifer Lewis resisted the diagnosis at first and refused to take medication until a self-described nervous breakdown left her convulsing in sobs, a hostage to her untreated neurochemistry. A quarter-century later, she is thriving and happy because, as she says, she “does the work.”