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Claiming Disability, Inc.-You Belong Here

Claiming Disability, Inc.-You Belong Here

By Erin Kay
Creating Strength and Empowerment for People with Disabilities

Claiming Disability Inc wants to spread our messages of empowerment and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that shared experiences can greatly impact inclusion. Through advocacy and outreach activities, our team and our community of supporters works to embrace diversity and disability as an asset toward the greater good.

Helping people find strength and courage to celebrate disability

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Tatiana A Lee & Verton Banks & Guest Host Andy Arias Black, Disabled Voices are Powerful in Hollywood!
Tatiana Lee is an award-winning actress, international model and Hollywood influencer. She serves as a Hollywood Inclusion Associate at RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. Growing up in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Lee felt unseen in popular media – and when she told people of her ambitions to be an actress and model, they laughed. Notwithstanding, Lee moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career. She learned how to harness social media’s power to speak boldly about accessibility and inclusion in mass media, due to the lack of access and opportunities for herself and others with disabilities. She is the voice behind the Accessible Hollywood brand, which highlights her journey as an actress, model and lifestyle influencer born with Spina Bifida. She quickly has become a sought-after speaker for brands like Apple, Bank of America, Human Rights Watch and the LA Film Festival, to name a few. Lee was in one of Apple’s first ad campaigns featuring people with disabilities using Apple’s accessible features and products.  Some of Lee’s credits include “Stand Up,” which premieres at Superfest during fall 2020 and “Coffee with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.” She also has appeared in modeling campaigns for Target, Zappos, Apple and more. She was the 2018 recipient of the Reeves Acting Scholarship from The Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation for her contribution to further disability inclusion in film and media. Currently working at RespectAbility, Lee consults on a variety of TV and film projects, conducts training for studios and production companies including NBCUniversal, Netflix and The Walt Disney Company, and assists with RespectAbility’s Lab for Entertainment Professionals with Disabilities. Verton R. Banks is best known as the diligent medical intern Vernon on the critically acclaimed HBO comedy Getting On starring Laurie Metcalf, Niecy Nash, and Alex Borstein. Verton appeared in 10 episodes over the course of two seasons. Other notable TV appearances include NBC's ER, FX's Married, ABC Family's Mystery Girls and TBS' Ground Floor. Verton is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of UCLA . He was recently nominated for an LA Weekly Best Supporting Actor award for his performance as in Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart at The Fountain Theater. Andy advocates in the entertainment industry by creating visible pathways as an actor and stand-up comedian. As an actor, Andy has had the pleasure of working with Tom Hanks, Mark Ruffalo and Hilary Swank on projects. He is often asked to consult with producers and directors in create greater media visibility of people with disabilities. He has also produced several small projects that have brought attention to persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ to community. Andy’s expertise extends to Federal government and corporate levels. His goal is to marry his policy work with his work in the entertainment industry to create a systemic lasting change.
March 11, 2021
Claiming Disability Meets Actually Autistic Actor George Steeves
Sia's new music video featuring Maddie Ziegler just won 2 Golden Globes I thought I'd have a discussion with my friend actor George Steeves who's actually autistic working in the Hollywood industry. He's pals with Paula Abdul and Anna Faris .George Steeves is known for his work on Saving Paradise and NCIS: Los Angeles @savingparadise NCIS: Los Angeles Anna Faris Paula Abdul [Image Description: A yellow image with actor George Steeves huggindg actress @annafaris Anna with white skin and blonde hair. George in the middle in a model shot in a blue shirt & red tie and brown hair. George is in a black shirt holding artist @paulaabdul in a red dress with the official Claiming Disability Inc podcast cover in purple promoting the upcoming livestream at 1pm cst with Erin CEO and Founder of Claiming Disability Inc in the corner with curly hair and makeup] #accessibilityforall #actuallyautisticadult #austim #austimawareness #films #hollywood #representationmatters
March 11, 2021
Women with Cerebral Palsy in the Non-Profit Sector w/ Coordinator of the CP Conference Nicole Luongo
Nicole Luongo is the author of Naked Desires, a poetry book for everyone who is searching for love, delighting in love, or hoping to understand love. Nicole is also a writer and a disability advocate dedicated to raising awareness for selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), a life-changing surgery for adults and children with cerebral palsy. She’s proud to be the Cerebral Palsy Conference Coordinator and the host of the exclusive companion podcast Cerebral Palsy Conversations. In 2019, Nicole created the Go Green for CP campaign, and she became the first person ever (this was a solo endeavor) to secure at least one building, landmark, etc. in almost all 50 states to light up in green on National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day (March 25) and on World CP Day (October 6), with lightings in three different countries. World CP Day was the first to feature her campaign in Cerebral Palsy is Lighting Up the World. Go Green for CP was also featured nationally on ABC6 in Rhode Island, on news station’s websites in different states, and in newspapers around the country. In addition to being featured on NBC6 Miami, Nicole has been in myriad media including’s One Woman’s Cerebral Palsy Story Should Encourage Sharing Your Own, DISABILITIES by Daniel J. Vance — the nation’s best-read weekly newspaper column about people with disabilities — Good News Network, the Sun-Sentinel, and more. Her HuffPost article SDR: Life-Changing Surgery for Cerebral Palsy is referenced on numerous blogs and websites. Her work has also been published in The Mighty, Yahoo, and YooCan. She’s also featured on Feedspot’s “10 Cerebral Palsy Youtube Channels To Follow in 2020.” Nicole has contributed to World CP Day’s blog, and she’s been a member of the World Cerebral Palsy Day Committee since 2016. Nicole created the What CP Looks Like Facebook page and hashtag #whatCPlookslike to change perceptions, raise awareness for cerebral palsy and give a voice to people thriving with disabilities, many of whom often feel invisible.
March 11, 2021
Claiming Disability Inc Meets Political Activist and Executive Director Ola Owejumi
Ola graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor’s degree in government and politics. As a student, she founded two nonprofits, the Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation and Project ASCEND.  These organizations provide college scholarships to low-income students, funding for women's education programs, and distributes teddy bears and books to children awaiting organ transplants across the United States. As a public speaker, she has worked with, Planned Parenthood, and Healthcare Voter. Her advocacy topics include  equal access to affordable healthcare and opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  A young political powerhouse herself, Ola has given speeches alongside politicos such as House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Cory Booker, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, Senator Menendez, and more.  As a political commentator, she has frequently appeared on PBS and Democracy Now to fight for the rights of women, people of color, and the disabled. . - pablo picasso Ola and her advocacy work have been praised by The Clinton Global Initiative, MTV, Intel, Glamour Magazine, and The Huffington Post.  Her writing has also been published by CNN, The Huffington Post, Marie Claire, Glamour, and SELF. In addition, she  has served on boards for nonprofits founded by General Colin Powell and musician Lady Gaga.   Ola is available for bookings as a writer, speaker, and consultant, specializing in the intersections of gender, race, and disability.
March 11, 2021
The Entrepreneurial Spirit & Disability w/ Elizabeth Tikoyan CE0 & Founder of the Riley App (Endorsed by Gary Varyernuck)
Riley App Team GaryVee Gary Vaynerchuk Her app was even endorsed by famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee @teamgaryvee We are a global community that empowers one another through personalized connections, paving the way to a more accessible and unstigmatized future. Within our mobile app we have created an environment of sharing experiences and hardships where we don’t let our disabilities and health conditions define us. It's not just an app, it's a movement OUR MOVEMENT Beyond the Riley App, our movement is to promote a better life by connecting people with similar experiences Elizabeth Tikoyan FounderCEO When all her friends were applying to college in their senior year, Elizabeth Tikoyan was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. As her friends were off starting their new journeys, she stayed back to get treatment. Fast forward 7 years and Elizabeth is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia and has founded the Riley App to help people meet others living with the same health condition. The name "Riley" is in honor of a close friend she made while volunteering in the hospital.  Riley passed away while waiting for a transplant, but her legacy lives on. [Image Description: A sea green background with blue bubbles with a gorgeous photo of Elizabeth Tikoyan CEO & Founder of the @rileyapp_ with a black sweater and glasses with her hair pulled back with photos of the Riley app you can download at the @apple store with a picture of Erin Noon Kay CEO & Founder of Claiming Disability Inc with the official Claiming Disability Inc logo]
January 5, 2021
Disability Representation in the Entertainment Industry with New Talk Show Host Dr. Truett Vaigneur & Director Andy Arias
This past November I did my first movie review of Hulu Thriller 'Run' back in November featuring disabled actress @kierajallen.   Since then there's been some very cool disabled representation in in the movies these days including Christmas Ever After on Lifetime featuring Tony Winning Disabilities Advocate Ali Stroker . For this discussion of disabled representation in Hollywood I need my Hollywood pals to join me this Saturday at 1pm CST for this critical discussion on representation. Join my friends Director/Producer/ @andyswheelz & New York Talk Show host Dr. Truett Vaigneur of Disabilities Redefined with Dr. Vaigneur for this critical discussion Disabled Representation in the discussion mentioned: Crip Camp Dani's Twins Film Push Girls Sex and the City [Image Description: A picture of Erin Noon Kay CEO and Founder of Claiming Disability Inc with Dr. Truett Vaigneur from Disabilities Redefined and Andy Arias Director of The Unicorn Closet (Produced by Claiming Disability Inc.)  an independent film featured in the Disability Easterseals Challenge. 
January 5, 2021
(APA) Tedx Speaker/ Author Jessica Carson of "Wired this Way," *Available on Amazon!
I met Jessica last month at a workshop and we just clicked! As someone who hopes to publish a book herself I am in awe of her ambitious attitude and empathy. Jessica believes that we as creators do our best work when we use our whole selves to create. This requires us to balance our scales while honoring our unique mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual gifts. This is not a journey of fixing ourselves, but a journey of identifying our greatest potentialities and sharing them through the act of creation. This is not a journey of becoming more or less, but a journey of coming back to our most essential selves. I offer a body of work that empowers creators to develop their capacity for Creative Self-Discovery. Through the process of self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-care, we can become whole creators who know how to handle our spectacularly complex operating systems. Buy the book available on Amazon! Currently: Director of Innovation at the American Psychological Association (APA) Expert in Residence at Georgetown University Yoga, meditation & mindfulness practitioner Expert Mentor at WeWork Labs Neuroscience & Psychology Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) [Image Description: The top white border has the official TEDx logo on Pearl Street and the official Amazon logo where Jessica Carson book is available. There's a copy of her book Wired This Way in the left corner with a psychological swatch on the cover with a picture of Jessica Carson with a pretty mood ring and strawberry blonde hair in a top deck background. On the bottom half is a picture of CEO and Founder of Claiming Disability Inc Erin Noon Kay with long curly hair and makeup with the official Claiming Disability Inc podcast cover in purple]
January 5, 2021
Art Activism by Marie D.L.: Changing the Disabled Conversation through Art
Digital Artist, Writer, and Disability Rights Leader Marie D.L.’s Art Activism. Support a disabled artist fighting for constitutional equality and learn a new perspective different from your own. The r.a.r.e. community is a social media network not connected to any other existing social media platforms, designed for chronic, invisible, mental, or rare disease warriors. It was created by a disabled warrior to be a place for chronically ill or disabled warriors to connect with others who have similar conditions & experiences in a positive environment meant to keep divisive topics out. Changing the Disabled Conversation through Art [Image Description: A grey water color  border with a thick black border with a white background with splattered black paint in the background with a pink glowing background and Marie in the middle with black hair and black lipstick with a choker with her hair covering her face with beautiful pale skin and a laced tank top there's black speech bubbles with white texts. There's bubbles with her original artwork one has a green/blue background that says its okay to be disabled. Another original piece is a purple hand with long black finger nails holding a crystal ball with green smoke that says you are stronger than you think you are. Another original piece has a skull shaped like a triangle] CHECK OUT AMAZING WORK! IG: @r.a.r.e.advoc8
January 4, 2021
Claiming Disability Inc Meets THE ANDREW GURZA! & Heather Morrison CEO & Founder of @thatshandi
Learn More at Handi was founded by disability consultant and activist Andrew Gurza and innovation strategist Heather Morrison from a simple and shocking fact: hundreds of millions of people around the world can’t masturbate due to hand limitations (pain, immobility, lack of dexterity, weakness etc). In fact, our research showed that over 50% of physically disabled people surveyed struggle to achieve sexual pleasure on their own. And shockingly, no products have been designed with them in mind, despite over 90% of those surveyed telling us they wanted one. This puts people in an awkward position (and not the kind we like) of asking someone for help, paying someone every time you want to have a release, or not getting off at all – which isn’t really an option is it? What’s worse, the topic is still terribly taboo and off limits. Or it was - until now…
October 14, 2020
Women Belong In All Places Where Decisions are Being Made: Voting, Grassroots Politics, & Disabled Voters
A candid discussion on voting, women in local, grassroots politics, & Disabled Voters with special guests Christina Blackcloud 2020 State Representative Iowa House District 72 AMBER GUSTAFSON Founder: Grassfed Yoga | Alumni: Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication | Former: Iowa Chapter Leader Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America | Current: Graduate Student, Master of Arts in Communication, Public Policy & Advocacy at Drake University | RAQUISHIA HARRINGTON NORTH LIBERTY CITY COUNCIL Erin Noon Kay CEO & Founder Claiming Disability, Inc. & Political Admirer
September 30, 2020
Claiming Disability, Inc. Meets Alex CEO & Founder of Patti & Ricky *Sponsored* PROMO CODE INSIDE
Patti + Ricky is the Adaptive Fashion Marketplace for adults and kids with disabilities, chronic conditions, patients, seniors, and caregivers. Shopping does not typically include or embrace differences and individuals with disabilities. Patti + Ricky changes this with an inclusive shopping experience for all. Patti Connell was a mother, sister, aunt, daughter, friend, and entrepreneur. She was strong, independent, and very much ahead of her time. Ricky Warga-Arias was a son, cousin, friend, philanthropist, and teacher. He had a contagious smile, keen intellect, and was a true lover of the arts. They were both the depiction of cool. Together, Patti and Ricky formed the inclusive lens through which Alexandra Connell Herold (CEO and Founder of Patti + Ricky) sees the world. Alexandra wanted to create an online department store where every product is curated with Patti and Ricky's approval in mind. Our mission is to continue to spread the love, understanding, and acceptance that Patti + Ricky passed on throughout their lifetimes. We hope Patti + Ricky continues to positively impact lives every day. Each year we donate 10% of our profits to non-profit organizations that support inclusion and provide access for individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions. If you use the CODE Claimingdisability10 you can receive 10% off your first Patti & Ricky Purchase, Shop Now
September 17, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Viral Sensation Jermaine Greaves
A few days after losing his job at Macy’s, Greaves had attended a “Live like Nip” workshop where they’d discussed manifesting your dreams. Less than a week later, video was captured of him dancing in his wheelchair. “I was ranting and raving about not being seen or heard – not being included. The universe heard me!” He feels he’s in the spotlight for a reason. Greaves, who was born with cerebral palsy, has made it his life’s mission to show people that they can do anything, despite their disabilities. “I go to spaces where I don’t normally fit in and make a place there. That’s my entire life.” He founded “Not Like the Other Kids,” a clothing brand that aims to help others in need and inspire people who are differently abled or disadvantaged. To date they’ve raised money to help a girl with leukemia, taken someone who’d been bullied on their dream vacation, and contributed in the Puerto Rican disaster relief effort. The 27-year-old theater major is recognized on campus from having been on the news – and fielding calls from all over the world. But he’s not letting the fame go to his head: “It’s not about me being famous, but about making an impact,” he noted. “Fame is cool, attention is nice – but you have to do something with it.” Regardless of everything that’s going on, he plans to finish his degree. “I’m still going to class, still on time, still doing assignments. I’m a whole student here, with a book bag and a cell phone.” He said he feels like Megan thee Stallion, whose fame hasn’t stopped her from going to college. (He plans on DM-ing her to ask how she juggles it.) An adult learner, Greaves came to Kingsborough after a break from another college. He said the faculty and students of Kingsborough’s theater department embraced him with love and understanding. “It’s such a difference from all the other times I was doing theater. The theater department at this school has made me feel welcome and included. They understood my situation.” “Having professors that understand that and help you through the college experience is why I love coming here,” he said. “I love being in school. I really enjoy being in class. And, I enjoy being a student here. You learn about people from all ages at this school. People see you and they want to help you. They just make you feel like you belong.” Greaves thinks everyone should make the most of college, no matter what their situation. “In college, you learn what’s for you and what’s not for you. Don’t let the attention about everything going on around you make you forget what your life is.” Check out Jermaine’s video for yourself:
August 1, 2020
Claiming Disability Meets Councilman Alex Watters & Executive Director Sujit Singh*ADA Episode*
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. Alex Watters Sioux City Iowa Councilmen Sioux City is a community rich in diversity which strives to achieve geographic, gender and racial balance on each board, commission and committee. In addition, effective January 1, 2012, Section 69.16A of the Iowa Code now requires gender balance on those City Boards and Commissions required or governed by state law unless the City has made a good faith effort for a period of three months to appoint a qualified person. This affects and includes the Airport Board of Trustees, Civil Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Library Board of Trustees, and Planning and Zoning Commission. Sujit Singh Executive Director Combined Efforts Our goal is simple; facilitate collaboration between artists with and without disabilities to create performances in which disability drops from consideration as a result of the combined efforts of a diverse group of individuals. For more information on how to get involved with this non-profit, please visit:
July 31, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Andy Arias Actor, Comedian, LGBTQIA Activist, & Disability Rights Advocate
Andy is often hired speak and train at universities, high schools, and Congressional leaders on ADA compliance and the inclusion of people disabilities and others from diverse backgrounds and communities. He has received several awards for his presentations on LGBTQ diversity and disability equality. Andy's experience and leadership gave him skills to develop and implement a youth programs that served over 150 young adults in Southern California helping them reach their dreams for independence. The curriculum for this program utilized today by specific County agencies. Andy excels in teaching students that nothing can get in the way of their dreams, as long as they use their disabilities as an asset. Andy advocates in the entertainment industry by creating visible pathways as an actor and stand-up comedian. As an actor, Andy has had the pleasure of working with Tom Hanks, Mark Ruffalo and Hilary Swank on projects. He is often asked to consult with producers and directors in create greater media visibility of people with disabilities. He has also produced several small projects that have brought attention to persons with disabilities and the LGBTQ to community
July 5, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Rocker Marissa Lelogeais
Marissa Lelogeais is not a person defined by cerebral palsy. If you ask her she will say her life is music, and music is her life. Her band The Merry Rockers all met while studying music together at Berklee College of Music in Boston, but for Marissa it goes much further back. “Well, I was like 4 or 5 and I went to see Peter Pan on Broadway. I saw how much fun the actors looked like they were having onstage.” She says as she remembers her first musical inspiration. Now 30, going on 31, Marissa (who prefers Mar) is the lead vocalist in The Merry Rockers:  a fun, upbeat reggae band that regularly gig around Manhattan. Her favorite music? “Reggae would most definitely be number one. However I also LOVE Broadway shows, so musical theater as well.” This summer in between gigs Mar is looking forward to Broadway in Bryant Park, “I'm so excited to be back in the city for it. And my dad is taking me to see Coldplay so I am excited for that too!” Mar also takes part in an annual African Dance show in Minnesota, although it is a little difficult because of her cerebral palsy. While it doesn’t define her, she does notice her differences. “For sure for sure. I'll be walking down the street and someone will look at me weirdly or someone will think I have a leg injury. I also walk with a red and white tipped cane due to my low vision. It frustrates me when I am trying to do something and my brain doesn't catch up to my body quickly enough.” None of this seems to sap her spirit however. “Singing onstage and playing music with my friends gives me so much joy that I feel like I could burst. When I'm onstage, I feel empowered. While I may have CP, I can still play music and sing songs I wrote which I hope will make the people at the show smile...and dance!!” For anyone with cerebral palsy she has the following advice - “To never give up on their dreams. You may think that your dream is unattainable. Believe me, I did. But when you're determined enough and have people that support you, anything is possible. You might not be able to do it to the same extent as someone who doesn't have any disabilities at all, but you can still do it.” Mar also believes in the importance of cerebral palsy research, such as that being undertaken with help from the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, “because it can help shape the lives of the people who are here and the people who will come after us.” — James Searl, Friend and Bassist of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad“When you hear Marissa sing you are not hearing her disability. You are hearing music. You are hearing inspiration. You are hearing what soul really is. It comes through effortlessly. It is her strength.” To check out her music:
June 11, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Keisha Greaves & The Jenna Green
Keisha Greaves-Girls Chronically Rock Movement Girls Chronically Rock Collection was inspired by Keisha Greaves who currently has Muscular Dystrophy and wanted to create something to help motivate, encourage, and let people know you rock and you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. This collection consists of many different designs with inspirational quotes on them. To support Keisha's business, please visit: About   Jenna  Welcome! My name is Jenna Green, I’m a 30 something woman living outside of Boston with my husband and our rescue dog, Dixie. I’m an auntie extraordinaire, dog lover, caffeine addict, fashion fanatic, social media marketer, business coach, and (mostly) optimist. Pink is my favorite color, I love unicorns, I don’t think that there is such a thing as too much glitter, and I’m certain that growing up is overrated. My motto is “life’s hard, find joy anyway.’’ My goal with this blog, my community groups, and in general is to go through life’s challenges with grit and perseverance while giving ourselves (and others) grace and understanding. We each determine our definitions of success, and we encourage each other along the way. Oh, and did I mention that I have Multiple Sclerosis? Check out more about Jenna:
June 11, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Jim LeBrecht & Nicole Newnham Directors & Executive Producers of Crip Camp
Jim LeBrecht, Director/Producer Jim LeBrecht has over 35 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, author and disability rights activist. Jim began his career in theater, working as the resident sound designer at the Berkeley Repertory Theater for 10 years. His film credits include The Island President, The Waiting Room, The Kill Team and Audry and Daisy. A complete list of his film credits (over 145) can be viewed at IMDB. Jim co-authored Sound and Music for the Theater: the art and technique of design. Now in its 4th edition, the book is used as a textbook all over the world. Jim’s work as an activist began in high school and continued at UC, San Diego, where he helped found the Disabled Students Union. Jim is currently a board member of the Disability Education and Defense Fund, which works for the rights of the disabled through education,legislation, and litigation. James LeBrecht. (January 8, 2018). A Place at the Table: Doc Filmmakers with Disabilities on Building Careers and Disproving Stereotypes. Documentary Magazine Nicole Newnham, Director/Producer Nicole Newnham is an Emmy-winning documentary producer and director, Sundance Film Festival alumnus and five-time Emmy-nominee. She has recently produced two virtual reality films with the Australian artist / director Lynette Wallworth:the breakthrough VR work Collisions, which won the 2017 Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches to Documentary, and Awavena, featured this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Previously she co-directed The Revolutionary Optimists, winner of the Sundance Hilton Sustainability Award, Nicole also instigated, co-produced and directed the acclaimed documentary The Rape of Europa, about the Nazi war on European culture, which was nominated for a WGA award and shortlisted for the Academy Award. With Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Brian Lanker, she produced They Drew Fire, about the Combat Artists of WWII, and co-wrote the companion book, distributed by Harper Collins. A 1997 graduate of the Stanford Documentary Film Program, Nicole lives in Oakland with her husband Tom, and two sons, Finn and Blaine. To watch Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, please subscribe to Netflix
May 19, 2020
Claiming Disability, Inc Meets Ashley Jacobson from Legally Abled
My name is Ashley Jacobson and I have spent more than a decade devoted to disability advocacy.  During my undergraduate years, an immediate family member of mine endured a serious car accident which left her facing ongoing rehabilitation for a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  Her rehabilitation process opened my mind to a world of systemic challenges people with disabilities face on a daily basis.  I graduated in Undergraduate Studies with Specialties in Special Education, Psychology, and Political Science from Western Michigan University and then received my Master’s degree from Michigan State University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program (ranked #1 in the nation).  Rehabilitation Counseling is a field which empowers people with disabilities through counseling and training to live their most independent and fulfilling lives vocationally, personally, and otherwise.  During my graduate studies, I worked as the Program Coordinator for the Building Opportunities for Networking and Discovery (BOND) program for college students on the autism spectrum attending Michigan State University, through MSU’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.  After graduating with my Master’s degree, I passed the national Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) exam and spent time counseling youth and adults with disabilities for a non-profit organization in Michigan. I quickly realized that there was more I could do to advance the interests of the disability community.  Without violating confidentiality, I can attest to the misconceptions, barriers, and problematic vulnerabilities that create an inaccessible justice system.  I saw clients reach out to police, attorneys, and others in the community for help, only to be misunderstood.  I saw too many of my clients with disabilities dealing with legal troubles based on a lack of accessibility to the right resources. Truthfully, I also found many actors in our system who were simply not adequately trained in how to approach a legal issue involving a person with a disability–whether that person was a victim/survivor of a crime, alleged to have committed a crime, or needed assistance with domestic violence, family law issues, or educational barriers.  I grew frustrated in referring my clients to attorneys because while those attorneys were competent and excellent in their field, they really did not have the background and training in how to approach a case involving a person with a disability.  But, pointing fingers at missteps and misunderstandings is not my goal.  The only true pathway to a more inclusive system for people with disabilities, is to focus on simple and concrete approaches to making our legal system accessible to the complex and diverse disability community. Ashley is willingly to be a free referral for those in need, for more information go to: Disclaimer: The women of Claiming Disability, Inc are not authorized to give legal consult. 
May 10, 2020
Claiming Disability, Inc. Meets A Hot MS Songwriter/ Disability Advocate Brittany Quiroz
REAL TALK We are determined to not allow our disability to become our identity. We know we have more to offer than a pre generalized stereotype of a blue placard with a white stick figure. But what if we turned the tables and allowed our identity; who we are to our core, to become how our disability is unveiled? This marks the point in which we allow our set backs to build us. To be able to embrace what is designed to break us and leave our mark on the world for change. Being diagnosed with a neurological disability at the age of 30 is enough to make anyone climb into a hole, curl up and start burying yourself alive. The initial reaction of shock, fear, grief overwhelms us and we are left frozen. Unsure of where we go next. Just saying “it’s a lot to take in” doesn’t even begin to cover the extensive impact this moment has on your life. You are thrown against a wall of reality with emotions that contradict one another almost leaving you in a state of sudden whiplash. So what is your next move?For Brittany Quiroz now known as “A Hot MS” it was a “fight or flight, do or die” moment, as she says in her lyrics via her motivational music. For More Information: Please go to:
April 17, 2020
Welcome to Crip Chat Club: A Partnership with One Leg Up Productions
Every week, Pauline of One Leg Up Productions and Erin and Mollie of Claiming Disability, Inc. will be hosting a Zoom connection call that we affectionately named Crip Chat. The purpose of these chats is to provide a safe place for allies and advocates of the disability community to connect in our shared experiences and struggles, learn from one another, and empower one another to live the life you desire. Featured Voices: Pauline, Mollie, Erin, Gina, Denise, Ron, Tylia, Jenn, & Jessyca.  Although our calls will happen only once a week, you can keep the conversation going, contribute to and offer your thoughts and suggestions in our private Facebook Group. Be sure to get plugged in. Every week, we'll choose a topic to chat about. If you have ideas on topics that are important to you, please let us know. To ensure that everyone feels comfortable in speaking and feels like they're being heard, we have created a few foundation guidelines: All are welcome!  ❤Be respectful. 💚Be kind. 💙Make sure everyone that wants to speak gets the opportunity to speak. 💜If you're an introvert, it's okay to just listen to others. 💚We look forward to getting to know you, Pauline, Erin & Mollie (the Crip Chat Club team)  **Disclaimer: These Zoom calls will be recorded by One Leg Up Productions and the Claiming Disability, Inc, You Belong Here Podcast by entering the Zoom Chat, you are agreeing to be recorded and your content could be used.** Want to learn more about One Leg Up Productions? Please get signed up to chat with us
April 3, 2020
CP Talk! It's National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
Mollie and Erin are both two adult, professional women with Cerebral Palsy and their experiences differ greatly. We also able to relate on a lot of different levels about it. Enjoy this chat and please support National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month by following your favorite cpers, including Daryl Perry, Tylia Flores, Andrew Gurza, Zach Anner, Nicole Luongo of the #gogreenforcp movement. NATIONAL CEREBRAL PALSY AWARENESS MONTH National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month in March brings attention to a group of disorders usually diagnosed in early childhood. There are different forms of cerebral palsy (CP). A physician determines the kind of movement disorder based on the extent, type, and location of the child’s abnormalities. The disability can occur during development in the womb, but it can also occur during birth. Diagnosis may be delayed as parents begin to notice missed milestones. CP is a life-long condition. Children and adults with CP may require a range of care. While there is no cure, there are many therapies and adaptive strategies to support someone with CP throughout their life. Speech devices make it possible for someone with CP to speak independently. Electric wheelchairs provide mobility. However, accessibility is still an issue in some areas of the country. Through advocacy, research, and education improved awareness breaks down the barriers many with CP face. HOW TO OBSERVE Wear green in support of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Green represents new growth and inspires a renewed life. Learn more about CP or donate. Visit to learn more. Use #CerebralPalsyAwarenessMonth to share your experiences on social media.
March 15, 2020
Claiming Disability Inc. Meets Disabilities Advocate Tylia Flores from Keep on Stomping!
The special Valentine's Day Addition of the You Belong Here Podcast. The women of Claiming Disability, Inc meet with 24 year old Tylia to discuss her many accomplishments in the disabled community. You are so disabled and fierce, Tylia, you are empowering to so many people in the disabled community.  Tylia Flores was born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world.  Learn more about Tylia at Original Air Date: 2/14/2020
February 16, 2020
CD Meets Mick Rosenthal, Disabilities Activist and Documentary Supporter of Netflix's Crip Camp
Exclusive Interview with Mick Rosenthal and the "gorgeous," ladies of CD. (Mick's words, thanks Mick) Original Air Date: 2/8/2020 Award-winning NETFLIX documentary puts people with disabilities on the silver screen at Sundance My first time at the Sundance Film Festival was very memorable. A great documentary called CRIP CAMP opened the festival. The film features a camp in upper New York State called Camp Jened. Long lost to the dustbin of our collective 1950s, 1960s and 1970s history, Camp Jened was a camp for people with disabilities. Now, you’ll be able to experience the impact of Camp Jened when CRIP CAMP premieres on Netflix in mid-March. The film should also have a limited theatrical release. I got the opportunity to attend Sundance and see CRIP CAMP because, my parnts, who are a filmmaker and former actress turned political and environmental activist, invested in the film. The documentary looks at Camp Jened and its participants, who helped start the Disability Rights Movement, part the larger Civil Rights Movement. The film underscores an important idea that: · disabilities do not discriminate · a disability doesn’t care what skin color you have · a disability doesn’t care who you voted for, nor who you love · a disability doesn’t care what language you speak I am physically disabled with Cerebral Palsy and have been working on a long-term project regarding disabilities and voting rights. The fight for inclusion continues today, as there are still very few people with disabilities serving in Congress. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the protections guaranteed to people with disabilities, was passed in 1990 with bipartisan support from both houses of Congress. In this new century, there are still very few serving in Congress who have the abilities to make laws to protect our lives as people with disabilities. It seems that the protections afforded to us are slowly, and quietly, getting rolled back. Read More here...
February 11, 2020
Celebrating the Microwins: Making Every Day Count🎉
If you don't take time to celebrate the "microwins," the grind is real. ❤ Erin & Mollie discuss the "wins," of Claiming Disability,Inc. We continue to be in awe of the power between potential and persistence. In that space, We have been able to believe in and build up a platform — a community — for you, and all people with disabilities to come and connect, to gather in celebration of our differences, and to find a place where everyone belongs. We said we would build an online home for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and mental health conditions to actively and creatively claim who they are and where they are in their journey of self acceptance and self-love. So we did. Thank you to all of our CD community authors for bravely sharing your stories of learning through life. We said we would show up every week to host hour-long IG livestreams; we wanted another way to facilitate meaningful conversations and thoughtful experiences between people with disabilities, the kind of real talk that only comes from a willingness to be authentic and to tell the truth about the struggles before the successes. So we did. Thank you for showing up and raising your voices with us. We said we would launch a merchandise store, selling only clothing and accessories designed exclusively by people with disabilities. So we did. Thank you for wearing your disability like a badge of honor. We said we would produce a podcast, and create a show where our friends and us would have the power to control the narratives, to tell real stories about real people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Above all, we wanted to remind everyone: no matter who you are, you belong here. So we did. Thank you for tuning in and adding to the conversations. We said we would plan and produce our first speaking engagement. So we did. Erin and I are beyond excited and grateful to be representing @ as keynote speakers at Iowa city’s first annual Employment is Empowering conference, a forum bringing together community leaders and businesses to shine light on people with disabilities making a big difference in the workforce.
February 6, 2020
Communication is Key: Apples & Oranges
Mollie & Erin discuss the struggles of being two, strong-willed, determined, motivated, entrepreneurial disabled women in 2020. Having a business partner is a lot like having a sister and there's are ups and downs in any relationship. That's part of communication, we all communicate in different ways and that's what makes us original. Mollie and Erin are two distinct personality types, but one thing is for sure, where we meet in the middle is helping to empower people with disabilities to find their voice. You are allowed to disagree with people you love. Original air date: 1/18/2019
January 27, 2020
Feeling Defined in the Disabled Community
Mollie & I discuss person first language vs. identify first language along with some insightful chat of iconic literature like Harry Potter, Twilight (Better to be Team Edward) and much more in this light-heart episode! Enjoy!
January 22, 2020
Accessibility in the Snow-Episode 21 of the Claiming Disability, Inc. Live Stream
Original Air Date Jan. 11th, 2020 Mollie and Erin discuss surviving the Midwest winter as people with disabilities and discuss the importance of asking for accommodations when needed.  DISABILITY IS A BADGE OF HONOR, NOT A LABEL. Creating Strength and Empowerment for People with Disabilities Claiming Disability Inc wants to spread our messages of empowerment and compassion. We believe that a single action can make a difference in the community, and that shared experiences can greatly impact inclusion. Through advocacy and outreach activities, our team and our community of supporters works to embrace diversity and disability as an asset toward the greater good. CLAIMING DISABILITY INC AT A GLANCE Helping people find strength and courage to celebrate disability We know that living with a disability isn’t easy -- between the heartbreaks of inaccessibility, prejudices, and chronic pain – and such experiences can mean working hard to create space in the working world and to be seen and heard everywhere else in our communities. At Claiming Disability, Inc our mentors and motivational speakers will bring fresh perspectives from disabled life as we educate and inspire women and men — in different stages and phases of life —  to proudly claim their disabilities, share their stories, overcome challenging circumstances, and use their differences to make a big impact. We pledge to help all people feel seen and heard and to create connections within their fabulous disabled community. Shop our official Claiming Disability, Inc. Merch Store.   
January 12, 2020