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    Posted July 29, 2009

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New Disability Language Reflects Society's Changing Landscape

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 AEA, AFTRA and SAG, and Tri-Union Performers with Disabilities Committee, I AM PWD seeks to end the discrimination and exclusion of performers and broadcasters with disabilities. www.IAMPWD.org.

Click here for more info...

The New Language of Disability: Navigating the Terrain, was the subject of a June 10, 2009 panel discussion attended by Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) newswriters, producers and graphic artists from CBS, NBC and WINS. The lunchtime seminar was facilitated by Christine Bruno, Equity member and Disability Advocate for Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts; Anita Hollander, Equity member and East Coast national Chair, AFTRA Performers with Disabilities; Simi Linton, disability arts consultant and author of Claiming Disability and My Body Politic, and Lawrence Carter-Long, executive director of the Disabilities Network of New York City.

The roundtable was an off-the-record discussion about how to most effectively and accurately write about and/or report on the changing landscape of disability and disability culture, covering everything from the history of the disability rights movement and the top ten offensive terms used to describe disability to the constraints writers face telling stories in today's news environment.

"Disability should be part of the story, not the story," Ms. Hollander explained, also saying writers should avoid using words like "brave" and "courageous" when describing people with disabilities.

In a separate, but not unrelated action, the Little People of America, a non-profit organization providing support and information to people of short stature and their families, has called upon the Federal Communications Commission to ban the use of the word "midget," on TV and radio, saying the word is offensive and demeaning.

Please click here for a list of the top ten offensive terms used to describe people with disabilities as developed byAlliance for Inclusion in the Arts




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