Los Angeles, CA (July 23, 2009)---The I AM PWD (Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People with Disabilities) national disability rights campaign – a civil rights initiative jointly created by members of Actors Equity Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild – announced today that it was honored to present the keynote address at the National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on July 22-24.
The I AM PWD keynote address was delivered by Ray Bradford, National Director for Equal Employment Opportunities for AFTRA, a staff representative on the Tri-Union committee founded and sponsored by Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA all of which jointly oversee the I AM PWD campaign.
“Creating a broad and diverse network of activists committed to the vision that disability rights are human rights is one of our goals within the I AM PWD Campaign,” said Robert David Hall, actor and National Tri-Union PWD Committee chair. “Participating in this historic and timely summit is another step towards tearing down the walls of exclusion to PWD’s in the arts and in our country as a whole. We are thrilled to have Ray representing our campaign at this historic event.”
Bradford delivered the I AM PWD‘s keynote address to the summit on Thursday, July 23 and also screened the I AM PWD campaign video featuring actors Robert David Hall, Anita Hollander, Ann Stocking and Steve Gladstone, all PWD activist members of AEA, AFTRA and SAG.
The NEA’s multi-agency national summit will gather more than 100 experts to evaluate progress and develop new strategies to advance educational and career opportunities in the arts for people with disabilities. The summit will also include sessions on accomplishments over the last decade, education and training issues, employment support, and new research.
The first such gathering since 1998, the summit’s highlight events include a keynote speech by Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Arts, Culture and Disability Policy and two free, public performances by artists with disabilities, in addition to Bradford’s address. On July 22, the Heidi Latsky Dance Company presented excerpts from “Gimp,” a work that challenges preconceived notions about dance and the human form. The July 23 Millennium Stage Performance featured “Flying Solo: Monologues by Five Deaf Performers,” with a post-show talk back session.
The National Summit on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities is closed to the public except for the free, public Millennium Stage presentations. For more information, please contact the Arts Endowment Office for AccessAbility at 202.682.5733/5530, or click here to visit the NEA newsroom: http://www.nea.gov/news/news09/Disability-summit.html.
About I AM PWD
I AM PWD is a global civil rights campaign seeking equal employment opportunities for artists and professionals with disabilities throughout the entertainment and news media. Founded in 2008 by the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Tri-Union Performers With Disabilities Committee, I AM PWD is dedicated to ending the discrimination and exclusion of performers and broadcasters with disabilities. I AM PWD is uniting labor, industry, community and governmental allies in the fight to combat continuing discrimination against people with disabilities. Visit I AM PWD at www.IAMPWD.org.