Our objective was to design a fully accessible variety show with open captions, open audio descriptions and sign language interpreters that educated, entertained and empowered the nation's 57 million men, women and children with disabilities about the world's first comprehensive civil rights law protecting people with disabilities. Paramount to this objective was our 100% employment of Deaf and disabled, carftspoeple, writers, production personelle, and social media press team from multiply-marginalized communities necessary to complete such a show. Additionall, we created a database of our talent, staff and crew, as featured on our website - http://leadonada.org
ADA30 Lead On was established for the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Our goal is to continue to bring recognition to the history, impact, and purpose of the ADA through celebrations of diverse disabled artists, innovators, and advocates and their allies.
At this time in our nation’s collective conscience, we are asked to confront the harsh realities that are residual echoes of the American ”dream.” As in every social justice movement in this nation, the Disability Rights Movement was born out of the unfulfilled parts of America's potential and its unrealized and inaccessible dream. Whether it be for suffragists, Freedom Riders, Stonewall rioters, Feminists, each arose as response and appeal to the nation - “Do better. BE better.” However, even in those movements, the roles of ableism and racism were and are quite prevalent. That simple truth is what makes these ADA Lead On celebrations and productions even more significant.
Our strategy was to structure this unprecedented variety show with the arc of the five titles of the ADA to raise awareness shatter myths about the nation's largest minority. To combat systemic excluson of people with disabilities in front of and behind the camera/keyboard, with support of our corporate and foundation investors, we hired 73 established and emerging media professionals with disabilities. Thanks to Lead sponsor AT&T, Gold Sponsor Google, Bronze Sponsors Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, Foundation for Global Sports Development & Sidewinder Films, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, PolicyWorks and Wells Fargo.
From the Writers' Zoom to the end credits by Exceptonal Minds that trains youth with autism in post production, both above and below the line - the bottom line is that this show was created, produced, directed and promoted by 100% professionals with disabiliies, including our "ADA Generation" social media team of multiply-marginalized youth. Weaving and braiding content by creatives, corporate, foundation, grass roots and goverment leaders required a master of comedy, so our master of ceremonies was Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld, staple of American TV) - embelish
Star-studed disability narrative imperative was Tony-Award winner Ali Stroker; Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin; X Factor Austrailia winner Emmanuel Kelly; KripHop Nation's Leroy Moore & Keith Jones; Kinetic Light's Alice Sheppard.....
On Facebook Live without any paid advertising, we reached 80,519 people with 96,412 impressions.
And validated the need for disabiilty-owned content and set in motioin the ADA Lead On brand that went onto produce a similar show for NDEAM and slate of 2021 productions to further center interectionality with February/Black History Month in collaboration with the Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center; May/Asian Pacific Islander Month; June/LGBTQ+ Pride Month; July/ADA31; September/Hispanic Heritage Month.
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