February 2010

Model in Wheelchair Stars in Fashion Campaign

Wheelchair Fashion Model
The British department store, Debenhams, has cast wheelchair user Shannon Murray in its recent fashion campaign for famous designer Ben de Lisi’s brand called Principles.
The campaign also includes three other models that the company considers more realistic: Tess who is 5 feet 4 inches and considered petite, Tokumbo Daniel, who is a size 10, and Kate Fullman, who is a size 16.

Shannon has been modeling for over fourteen years, but she felt the Debenhams shoot was different because it was “another small step towards inclusion and representation.”

This was the first High Street campaign to feature a woman in a wheelchair, and disability advocates were mostly positive about the images. A spokesperson from the Direct Action Network, Clair Lewis, said: ‘As long as the campaign is more than just a brief moment of tokenism then I think it should be welcomed,’ she said.
‘Britain is a varied placed filled with women of different sizes and ethnic backgrounds. The models and high street windows should reflect that variety but all too often they don’t.’

When asked his thoughts about the campaign, fashion designer Ben de Lisi added: “I think Shannon looks amazing.”

We think she does too! What do you think?

More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1253699/Wheelchair-user-set-disabled-model-star-major-High-Street-campaign-Debenhams.html?ITO=1490

Stevie Wonder to Accept AAPD Image Award

On March 10, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C., legendary musician and recording artist Stevie Wonder will be awarded the American Association of People with Disabilities Image Award. (AAPD).  This will be the first time the AAPD has honored an entertainer whose personal example helps to improve the way people with disabilities are perceived by society.  Blind since infancy, Stevie Wonder has won 25 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as the Song Writers Hall of Fame.  Because of his work with the disability community, as well as the anti-apartheid movement, he was chosen as the United Nations Messenger of Peace on International Day of Persons with Disabilities in 2009.
“Stevie Wonder is a global leader who has used his extraordinary talents to be an ambassador for civil rights and social justice,” said Andrew J Imparato, President and CEO of AAPD. “We’re thrilled to be able to recognize his achievements with this inaugural award.”
Founded in 1995, the American Association of People with Disabilities has been a voice for change, politically, economically, and socially.  They have helped unite the diverse community of people with disabilities.

Music Legend Stevie Wonder To Accept Award At AAPD Gala @ Top40-Charts.com – 40 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 25 Countries

People With Disabilities Risk Losing Funding for Job Services

Disabled Man Working in Bookstore

If you ask Michael Medina about his last job he will tell you “Stacey’s Bookstore, That’s No.1, that’s a wonderful store…it’s the biggest bookstore I ever been to. A wonderful store. You can work as you want-long as you want.”

Michael Medina is 52 years old and has developmental disabilities. Last March the book store he worked for went out of business and he lost his job as a janitor. It is a tough job market, but even more so for the Michael Medina’s of the world as every state considers cutting funding that helps to place people with disabilities in jobs.

Medina, like thousands of others is a client of The Arc. A national nonprofit, The Arc offers support services to those with developmental disabilities. Unfortunately they are at risk of losing precious state funding by September. For now, some large national chains are stepping up to the plate in increasing numbers. Companies like Walgreens, McDonald’s and Safeway continue to create opportunities for people with disabilities. For now, Michael Medina with the help of his job coach has been offered a job as a bagger at Trader Joe’s, and is working hard!!!

Has it been hard for you or your loved one to find employment?  Have any non-profits helped you along the way?