Disability Awareness Videos Reach 1,800 Online Views

Disability Awareness Videos Reach 1,800 Online Views “Voices Beyond the Mirror” Video Series

Georgia Council Presents Candid Talk From Persons Living With Disabilities

ATLANTA, GA (October 6, 2011) – In an effort to foster familiarity and understanding, spread knowledge and spark conversation, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) created “Voices Beyond the Mirror,” a video series featuring people with a variety of disabilities talking candidly about their triumphs and challenges, public attitudes and life in general.  The series of 10 videos has received nearly 1800 views on the organization’s YouTube channel.  The videos can also be viewed at www.gcdd.org. The discussion of developmental disabilities is relevant and timely since statistics show that nearly everyone in Georgia knows someone or is someone with a disability (one in five Georgians and more than 54 million Americans have some type of disability).  Over the past week,  ReelAbilities Atlanta Disabilities Film Fest has provided  multiple opportunities for the public to engage and join the conversation about disabilities.  GCDD is a partner of the film festival which encourages changing the focus from disabilities to capabilities, opened October 1  in theaters throughout the Metro Atlanta area, and closes today. GCDD’s online video series, “Voices Beyond the Mirror,” captures a deep and thoughtful look into the everyday realities of living with different types of disabilities.  In the centerpiece video, viewers meet:

  • Eleanor, a woman in her 70s whose childhood polio causes her to use a wheelchair, who remembers life without accessibility, champions accessible homes and is the founder of Concrete Change;
  • Charlie, a high school junior with cerebral palsy, who excels in school and is active with youth with and without disabilities in his community through groups like Partnerships for Success; and
  • Angad, a Middle School student with Down syndrome, who enjoys karate, wants to be a police officer and whose mother, Aartie, is a tireless disability advocate.

In addition to these stories, the series features personal reflections, anecdotes and musings from:

  • A husband and wife who talk about prevailing public attitudes on blindness and the need to be accepting of differences;
  • A transportation advocate who dreams of driving an accessible car designed for visually impaired persons.
  • A recent college graduate who shares stories of school experiences as a deaf child and the impact of technology on the lives of hearing impaired persons;
  • A college administrator with cerebral palsy who emphasizes the importance of respect, etiquette and People First Language;
  • A rights activist who uses a wheelchair who appreciates his daughter’s advocacy;
  • A young man with cerebral palsy who talks about the dignity of work, his future aspirations and why he loves his job at Stone Mountain State Park;
  • A daughter and her mother who long for a job as a key to  will allow her to live independently in the community;
  • A state senator whose son has disabilities, who discusses disability legislation with emphasis on the spirit of the law, not just the letter;
  • A lawyer and researcher who discusses sexual health for people with significant disabilities and “abelism” in today’s culture;
  • A father with a spinal cord injury who reflects on father-son relationships with his 10 year old.
  • Georgia Partners of the Federal Developmental Disabilities Network who contrast today’s public policy accomplishments with the challenges of the past.

All “Voices Beyond the Mirror” videos are open captioned for the hearing impaired and vary in length from 2 minutes to 11 minutes.  GCDD developed and produced the series over six months in collaboration with Atlanta-based SplendidVid.  The series commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights and Assistance Act of 1971 (the “DD Act”) and also responds to GCDD’s commissioned Benchmark Study on Disabilities research showing a general lack of awareness of and exposure to persons with disabilities and the daily challenges they face.  The video, which is available to groups and organizations upon request, is offered as a public awareness tool and to support advocacy and policy-making efforts throughout Georgia and nationwide. For more information, contact Valerie Meadows Suber, Public Information Director, .