Elevating the voices of the historically marginalized, like those who identify as disabled, can have the power to shift stereotypes and build a more inclusive future. This program puts a spotlight on the power of representation in storytelling with leaders in the field who are driving change and looks at the state of disability activism 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act. Join Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers to meet the trailblazers paving the way forward.


Andraéa LaVant, a disability inclusion expert, said there’s much more that needs to be done when it comes to representation in the media. “We’re seeing it sprinkled here and there, and yet, there’s still so many tropes around how disability is presented...There’s more to be done in just ensuring disabled people are depicted really fully and wholly, as humans with lived experiences that are valuable.” (Washington Post Live)
Reyma McCoy McDeid, executive director of the National Council on Independent Living, explained the difference between disability rights and disability justice. “Rights are all about creating parallels, not intersections. They’re about creating space at a table that wasn’t built for us in the first place, and justice is about recognizing that and saying, ‘Hey, let’s co-create a new table, an inclusive table, an accessible table.” (Washington Post Live)
Jen Deerinwater, founding executive director of Crushing Colonialism, said the challenges the disabled community is faced with were created by the abled. ”We have so many issues. We are where we are as a community of disabled people because of the abled…This world, this country has been designed for and by the abled, and it purposely keeps us down.” (Washington Post Live)

Jen Deerinwater

Provided by Ford Foundation.

Jen Deerinwater is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, bisexual, Two Spirit, multiply-disabled journalist, and organizer. With an intersectional lens, Jen covers the issues Native communities face. Jen Deerinwater’s journalism and writing articulate a broad range of issues including Indigenous rights, reproductive justice, land justice, and disability accessibility in organizing. Jen Deerinwater is the founding executive director of Crushing Colonialism, a multimedia platform by and for Indigenous perspectives and creativity, a contributor at Truthout and a New Economies Reporting Project fellow. Jen Deerinwater’s work can be found in publications such as Bitch, Rewire.News, and In These Times, as well as in two recently published anthologies, Two-Spirits Belong Here and Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century.

Andraéa LaVant

Provided by Andraéa LaVant.

Andraéa LaVant is a nationally and internationally sought-after disability inclusion expert widely recognized for spearheading a global disability justice movement as impact producer for Netflix’s Oscar-nominated film, Crip Camp. Andraéa is founder and president of LaVant Consulting, Inc. (LCI), a social impact communications firm that offers cutting-edge corporate development and content marketing for brands and nonprofits. Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, NBC, Essence.com, the Root, and a host of other national media.

Reyma McCoy McDeid

Provided by Reyma McCoy McDeid.

Reyma McCoy McDeid is the Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, which is the longest-running national, cross-disability, grassroots organization run by and for people with disabilities in the United States. She is the recipient of a 2019 AT&T Humanity of Connection award and her work has been featured in Vice, TIME , The Guardian, and USA Today. After a nearly twenty year career in the provision of supports to a variety of communities, her vocation has shifted from serving marginalized people to addressing how systems create marginalization in the first place.