“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” -Maya Angelou
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), one of the country’s largest cross-disability membership organizations, provides social, political and economic advocacy on behalf of those in the disability community. This nonprofit organization, which touts itself as a “convener, connector and a catalyst” for the people it serves.
The AAPD was founded in 1995, just five years after the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) become law on July 26, 1990. Justin Dart, who many refer to as the “Father” of the ADA, and one of the founding members of AAPD, often called for “solidarity among all who love justice and equality.” His beliefs and strong leadership helped shape the AAPD to act as “convener, connector and catalyst.”
The AAPD has several programs to help provide advocacy for individuals with disabilities.
- Summer Internship Program
- Disability Mentoring Day
- AAPD Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Awards
- Disability Equality Index
- NBCUniversal Tony Coelho Media Scholarship
- 30 Seconds: AAPD’s Campaign to Stop Bullying
- Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship
The AAPD and Rooted In Rights manage the Disability Rights Storytellers Fellowship, a program that provides opportunities for individuals with disabilities the skills needed to pursue careers in digital media storytelling, as well as journalism, design, media production. Participants, more importantly, acquire the skills in which to use digital media storytelling as a tool to promote advocacy and awareness to the issues that affect them.
Rooted In Rights begins the program by supplying participants with a video production kit and a series of workshops, following orientation day activities. The fellowship period duration is 6 months, at which time, the students will be expected to complete two short videos, under the tutelage of the production team at Rooted In Rights. As part of the creative and learning process, the production team will be on hand to provide answers and support, as well as help from one-on-one mentors. Specifically, Rooted In Rights will help the students choose topics and develop ideas, and assist with the planning of production and the filming process. Additionally, AAPD will help participants with obtaining internships and employment opportunities.
Image credit: Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash