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Unapologetically Disabled

Unapologetically Disabled

Written by Colleen Good, M.A.

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for #MotivationInTheMedia, where we at Office of Accessibility Services share stories about how disability-related issues are featured in media, such as books, movies, the news and music.

One in six Americans has a disability. Yet the lives and stories of people who are disabled are often overlooked in mainstream American culture and conversation. There are projects that seek to change that.

“Recording Disability History, One Story at a Time”

This week, we will look at the Disability Visibility Project (DVP)™ , or #DisVisibility, “recordi ng disability history, one story at a time.” The project was founded by Alice Wong, M.S., a staff research associate at the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UCSF.

DVP™ is an “online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.” The project hopes to amplify the voices of people who are disabled, creating a community where they can share their stories about the “lived experience of disability” with others.

Community Partnership

To help work toward this goal, the Disability Visibility Project™ has formed a community partnership with StoryCorps, a national oral history organization. StoryCorps provides resources for anyone to share their stories, through:

Some of these stories are shared on the StoryCorps podcast (with participant permission), and all are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress archive. Make sure to mention the Disability Visibility Project™ in the notes section when you make your reservation, so your submission will be tagged as a part of the project.

How StoryCorps Works

StoryCorps interviews are different. Instead of being interviewed by a stranger, participants share “40 minutes of uninterrupted time for meaningful conversation with a friend or loved one.” StoryCorps recommends you prepare a little before the interview, so that it goes smoothly. The whole process will take a little over an hour.

Read the website for more about what to expect. And if you and your interview partner are stuck thinking of questions, they have a list of great questions. Don’t have an interview partner? That’s okay too. Each booth has a facilitator, who can act as your interviewer if needed.

DVP™ Accessibility

The Disability Visibility Project™ states on their website that they recognize that the audio story format of StoryCorps may not be accessible to everyone. DVP™ recommends that anyone wanting to participate who has accommodations or accessibility needs note those needs in the notes section of their online reservation with StoryCorps.

Other suggestions for participation for participants who communicate using sign language, a non-verbal method or a communication device include:

  • finding a sign language interpreter to verbally relay the story for audio recording

  • creating a YouTube video with your story that contains accurate captions

  • writing your story down and including a photo

All submissions must follow the StoryCorps guidelines, which include the title of your interview, name(s) of participants, and keywords. If you make a YouTube video or write your story down, do not submit your story directly to StoryCorps. Instead, email the link to your video or the text document and photo files to DisabilityVisibilityProject@gmail.com.

Make sure you mention the Disability Visibility Project™ in your notes so your submission will be tagged as part of the project.

Ways to Participate Online

  • The Disability Visibility Project™ also has a Facebook group , where members can share, respond to, and access stories on disability and disability culture.
  • Want to participate in the conversation? Search social media for #DisVisibility, and create your own posts using the hashtags too!
  • Share your stories!
  • Have an Idea for a Future #MotivationInTheMedia?
  • Contact us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by email with any stories you would like shared about your own experiences with media, or with any suggestions for media we should cover in future weeks.
  • Suggestions can include movies, music, television, YouTube series, celebrities, or anything or anyone else who motivates you in the media!