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Thread: First wheelchair user to win a Tony

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    Default First wheelchair user to win a Tony

    Ali Stroker wins Tony award to the praise of other disabled performers https://variety.com/2019/legit/news/...es-1203238854/
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Thank you for sharing this article. It's shameful that it has taken til 2019 for an actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony. Broadway has seemed more inclusive than Hollywood for decades in embracing the LBGTQ community. Why not be inclusive of everyone?

    It was disheartening to know that backstage isn't accessible to people with disabilities. It's a workplace, which means that those theaters are violating the ADA. The age of the theaters is no excuse for not retrofitting to accommodate everyone.

    I love the theater and wish that I could see all of the shows on Broadway right now.

    Love & Light,



    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 49, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003. Our Angel Jon received his wings April 2019. Now, they watch over Jim and me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth Mother 2 Angels View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Thank you for sharing this article. It's shameful that it has taken til 2019 for an actor in a wheelchair to win a Tony. Broadway has seemed more inclusive than Hollywood for decades in embracing the LBGTQ community. Why not be inclusive of everyone?

    It was disheartening to know that backstage isn't accessible to people with disabilities. It's a workplace, which means that those theaters are violating the ADA. The age of the theaters is no excuse for not retrofitting to accommodate everyone.

    I love the theater and wish that I could see all of the shows on Broadway right now.

    Love & Light,



    Rose
    You’re very welcome Rose! I completely agree! I was shocked that Ali was the first. I have been to theaters many times in my life and found the theaters to be extremely welcoming to LGBTQAI especially in leadership positions like Artistic Directors and of course actors and dancers. However I found theaters to be mostly dominated by white able bodied people regardless of sexual orientation or sexual identity.

    There are some theaters that are catered to the needs of disabled performers like the following
    https://www.tbtb.org
    http://www.theapothetae.org
    https://www.nationaldisabilitytheatre.org/
    https://www.phamaly.org/about

    So accessibility in theater can certainly be done. A ramp is a simple accommodation that most people should easily provide in their building or theater no questions asked. Other types of accessibility might be harder to retrofit in theaters however because of odd fire safely laws somebody made me aware of. Accessibility works best when introduced into a theater performance at the start!

    Another major issue that I see is a lack of opportunity for disabled actors to get trained professionally. Jessy Yates is one of the first physically disabled actors to be accepted to Yale https://observer.com/2019/01/meet-je...-disabilities/ As Jessy states
    “One of the biggest barriers to disabled actors is the lack of access to rigorous elite training programs. The industry works in a multitude of ways, but when you’re in a community that is marginalized, you often have to represent yourself and put your best foot forward. People aren’t taking chances on us, which means we’re not getting roles and we aren’t getting the chance to learn on the job. How do you think we’re gonna represent ourselves in the room if we don’t have experience? With Yale, an institution that casting directors can trust, networks are much more likely to take a risk because you’re coming from a reputable program. It’s all about representation, and I just want to be able to see myself on television. I grew up never having seen a disabled woman in media.”


    Again why is she the first? That is what has me scratching my head. I find community colleges to be more accessible and open to training disabled performers than private 4 year colleges. The only other professional program I have seen recently was called “Theater For All”.

    As I have stated before with Hollywood and film casting itself is also a huge problem. I know from experience that it is also not always easy to actually get in contact with disabled actors by a particular deadline and I have been forced to use unusual methods to contact disabled actors that most casting directors probably wouldn’t even remotely think of unless they were disabled. A lot of other actors with disabilities are NOT connected with actors unions like SAG-AFTRA yet so that may prevent casting directors from using them because of certain bizarre union rules. There’s a lot of paperwork involved. Accommodations can sometimes not be provided before a deadline runs out etc. As I mentioned in another thread a lot of people I know used this Organization http://inclusioninthearts.org/inclus...ed-operations/ to cast for both theater and film to find disabled performers but its shut down which does NOT help. (So does anybody here know any organizations similar to this one that I could recommend to others? Let me know ASAP? Thanks!)

    I did at one point want to start my own theater and wrote a thread http://www.braintalkcommunities.org/...cally-disabled about it MANY YEARS ago when I saw the same gaps in the theater industry mentioned in the article about Ali Stroker. Frankly I’m COMPLETELY UTTERLY EMBARRASSED by this old thread now! I had no idea how inclusive accessibility actually worked back then. Heck now I even know that a lot of businesses who label themselves as inclusive completely ignore disability issues altogether in their discussions which angers me. I ended up doing this kind of inclusive accessibility thing with my films https://cripvideoproductions.tumblr.com basically. I may have a theater branch of the "brand" eventually. Of course it all depends on many factors but I’m making good progress on eventually extending my work to the stage and it is extremely exciting! I now see how short sided I was in not including everyone. I was just angry at the time that physical impairments seemed to be taking a back seat but now I see that people with conditions like Autism need just as much help. I did actually cast an actor with Autism in one of my films very recently and worked with a woman who had a bipolar disorder. Real inclusion is the answer. Able bodied people and all types of disabled people all have something to offer each other and learn from each other when integrated together in a performance of a play or a film as long as you are aware that when that many types of disabilities are brought together one thing that is an accommodation for one person, may create a slight barrier for another, so it has to be individualized. This individualizing is probably what the industry doesn’t want to put $$$ towards. My work still puts physical disabilities front and center but I believe that I am developing the skills needed to work with all types of impairments. We shall we what happens and I will keep you all updated on my projects.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Expanding your work to the theater is very exciting! You have my support all of the way.

    It is challenging, and it shouldn't be this way in 2019. I am so frustrated by the lack of progress in accommodation and inclusion of everyone in every aspect of our society and environment. I've been advocating for civil rights and rights for persons with disabilities for over 50 years now. So little progress has been made.

    It's pervasive. "Crazy Rich Asians" was a box office hit, and suddenly, Asians are being recognized and valued in Hollywood. That took quite a long time to happen. The same is true with African Americans, Latinx, every minority. But I have always referred to the disabled community as the "Forgotten Minority."

    Who are the champions for people with disabilities? What famous, wealthy and influential star is out there fighting for equality for them? I've been listening to many of the interviews the multitude of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have been giving. I keep waiting for their policies to help people with disabilities. Or just the mention of people with disabilities as part of their constituency. I have heard nothing yet.

    I always look for that in politicians and elected officials, because if people with disabilities are excluded from their conversation or even a mention as a list of minorities, they lose my support.

    Look how long it took for an actor in a wheelchair to be awarded a Tony.

    People with disabilities are the brunt of comedian's jokes, stereotyped and mis-characterized in film and TV, and Broadway's backstage theaters are inaccessible.

    We are The Forgotten Minority, because we don't have famous people fighting for us. It's up to us. But without the visibility afforded by a famous spokesperson, our voices are dismissed.

    After half of a century advocating, it is tremendously discouraging to see how little progress has been made.

    It's up to you and your peers, funnylegs4, to carry the banner and keep fighting. I am too old, tired, stressed, and all of the rest to go to battle any longer.

    Don't be deterred by obstacles. There are laws in place, make the most of them. Where laws need to be changed, lobby for change. Create a strong presence on social media. Network on line and face to face. Before the Internet became viable, I communicated via snail mail, telephone, and face to face meetings. You have a much wider audience.

    Keep doing what you've been doing, learning, growing, and understanding the complexities of being The Forgotten Minority. We have to work harder than any advocate. Progress is the reward. However large or small, progress is still progress.

    Stay the course. You are succeeding.

    Love & Light,



    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 49, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003. Our Angel Jon received his wings April 2019. Now, they watch over Jim and me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth Mother 2 Angels View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Expanding your work to the theater is very exciting! You have my support all of the way.

    It is challenging, and it shouldn't be this way in 2019. I am so frustrated by the lack of progress in accommodation and inclusion of everyone in every aspect of our society and environment. I've been advocating for civil rights and rights for persons with disabilities for over 50 years now. So little progress has been made.

    It's pervasive. "Crazy Rich Asians" was a box office hit, and suddenly, Asians are being recognized and valued in Hollywood. That took quite a long time to happen. The same is true with African Americans, Latinx, every minority. But I have always referred to the disabled community as the "Forgotten Minority."

    Who are the champions for people with disabilities? What famous, wealthy and influential star is out there fighting for equality for them? I've been listening to many of the interviews the multitude of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have been giving. I keep waiting for their policies to help people with disabilities. Or just the mention of people with disabilities as part of their constituency. I have heard nothing yet.

    I always look for that in politicians and elected officials, because if people with disabilities are excluded from their conversation or even a mention as a list of minorities, they lose my support.

    Look how long it took for an actor in a wheelchair to be awarded a Tony.

    People with disabilities are the brunt of comedian's jokes, stereotyped and mis-characterized in film and TV, and Broadway's backstage theaters are inaccessible.

    We are The Forgotten Minority, because we don't have famous people fighting for us. It's up to us. But without the visibility afforded by a famous spokesperson, our voices are dismissed.

    After half of a century advocating, it is tremendously discouraging to see how little progress has been made.

    It's up to you and your peers, funnylegs4, to carry the banner and keep fighting. I am too old, tired, stressed, and all of the rest to go to battle any longer.

    Don't be deterred by obstacles. There are laws in place, make the most of them. Where laws need to be changed, lobby for change. Create a strong presence on social media. Network on line and face to face. Before the Internet became viable, I communicated via snail mail, telephone, and face to face meetings. You have a much wider audience.

    Keep doing what you've been doing, learning, growing, and understanding the complexities of being The Forgotten Minority. We have to work harder than any advocate. Progress is the reward. However large or small, progress is still progress.

    Stay the course. You are succeeding.

    Love & Light,



    Rose
    Hi Rose,

    Thank you so much for your lovely compliments and support! It means so so much to me! I will keep doing this work as long as I possibly can!

    I agree. Yes! Asians exploded in Hollywood after “Crazy Rich Asians”! Yes I noticed the same pattern as you with other minorities in the media. I think the media is way behind the rest of society on the diversity and inclusion front for all minorities frankly, and it is really irritating. I think one reason for the pattern of other minorities doing better in media is because the other minorities, unless they have minority status that intersects with disability or perhaps multiple other minorities, they only have to contend with society perceptions, not lack of change in actual physical environment or emotional/mental environment. When disability is involved things have to be modified or accommodated in ways that other minorities do not have to think about so its a totally different experience. A whole other layer in my humble opinion. That being said simple things that should be done are not being done and it still creates a brick wall type barrier for me in some areas. Accessibility should be built in from the beginning to the extent that it can be.

    I completely agree about politicians and it infuriates me to no end to see how politicians ignore disability. I won’t go too deep into the politic side here as you know many of my views from the politics thread. We are both the largest minority and the forgotten minority.

    Do not worry, your fights were not in vain. Your battle all those years allowed doors to be opened for me with the ADA, IDEA Act etc. So thank you! I’m sure my work would not exist without the ADA. I’m grateful to live in a country that has more awareness of disability and the infrastructure to at least start to correct accessibility problems. Some countries my immigrant friends come from have almost none of the infrastructure needed. I was told by a fan of my films the other day that before the ADA all the services that I used growing up did not even exist like disability services in college. People either made do without accommodation as best they could or didn’t come out in public. I DO see change happening. I see theaters geared towards disabled actors being created much more often than when I started. I see shows like “Speechless” which for all its flaws, did hire more than one disabled actor for its run on TV. “Speechless” was recently cancelled btw. I wonder what the cancellation says about inclusion as well?

    We are making progress and we still have a LONG way to go. I have faith we will have more accessibility and opportunity in the near future.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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