Celebrated Actors with Disabilities Team with Easterseals to Encourage Us All to #StayHomeSaveLives

Screenshots of celebrities from the Easterseals PSA Introducing our guest blogger for today – Mark Whitley, president & CEO of Easterseals Southern California.

Over the last few years, Easterseals Southern California has made a concerted effort to partner alongside the entertainment industry to advance disability representation and inclusion across film and TV. Because we believe quality storytelling – the compelling, authentic, honest and entertaining stories we all consume – have the power to alter our hearts and minds, shift our perspectives, tackle deep-rooted stigmas, reverse misconceptions and ultimately, change the way the world defines and views disability. Simply put, good stories can change our society for the better.

You’ve likely seen or heard of our key efforts including the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge or the Media Access Awards presented by Easterseals. And if not, I’d encourage you to dive in and watch some of the powerful films and TV highlighted within each – it makes for great binge-watching while we’re all safely holding up at home.

Through our collaborative work here in Los Angeles, Easterseals has made incredible friends, who are actively working at all levels of entertainment to advance disability inclusion, while, at the same time, building tremendous careers and sharing their many talents with all of us. And, these very same friends – celebrated filmmakers and actors with disabilities – have now volunteered their time, without hesitation, to help Easterseals share a critically important message about safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Check them all out in our brand new #StayHomeSaveLives PSAs – watch them now!

Virtually everyone featured in the PSAs has also, in some way, been involved in the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, including Nic Novicki, the Film Challenge’s founder/director and member of Easterseals Southern California’s Board of Directors. Spearheaded by filmmaker John Lawson, the PSAs include clips and soundbites from 20 different actors with disabilities, including: Ed Begley, Jr., Coby Bird, Jamie Brewer, L. Scott Caldwell, Patrika Darbo, Tobias Forrest, Micah Fowler, Angel Giuffria, Jenni Gold, Danny J. Gomez, Sammi Haney, Diana Elizabeth Jordan, RJ Mitte, Daryl “Chill” Mitchell, Nic Novicki, Cole Sibus, Millicent Simmonds, Marilee Talkington, Danny Woodburn, and of course, John Lawson, himself.

The PSAs reinforce that we are all in this together, and asks us to self-isolate, stay at home, and do our part to stop the spread of this virus – especially because people with disabilities, older adults and individuals with chronic diseases may be particularly vulnerable. There are more than 61 million children and adults living with a disability in the U.S., making it the largest minority group in the country.

Here’s my ask of all of you – please share these life-saving PSAs with everyone you know! Through these videos, we see the strength and commitment of a multi-talented group of people, proudly representing the disability community and offering support to our communities in a meaningful and tangible way.

Now that’s what I call a good story!


 

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