Virtual Documentary Film Premiere: Changing Reality of Disability in America 2020 on August 19, 2020

Submitted by anoopa on Fri, 08/14/2020 - 12:29

In this year like no other, it’s time to tell the story of the ways in which inequity and racism have shaped the experience of disability in America.  We celebrate lives well lived and personal journeys pursued. But those stories remain the exception. There are millions of Americans with disabilities, many of whom are counted, but who have no awareness of their functional limitations as a ‘disability’ nor any sense of identity or rights. Today 60.1 million adults, 26% of the US adult population who Census classifies as people with disabilities. There are approximately 10.4% of children 3-21 years with disabilities.  

Rates are highest where inequality is sharpest: 40% of Native Americans, 40% of people 65+ but highest among older people otherwise disadvantaged. One in four Blacks adults have a disability. And that does not count the incarcerated and homeless whose high prevalence of disabilities make recovery more daunting.  

Back in 1990 and through past the millennium, we could not have imagined the US lifespan dropping.  Yet today the US is #40 in global lifespan rankings, heavily resulting from premature ‘Deaths of Despair’ among working class whites.  

We need to do better.  We must break through habits of thought to tell  these unfamiliar stories.  

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. - James Baldwin

Event Details

When: Wednesday, August 19, 2020, 12 pm EDT.

Where: Zoom webinar. Details will be sent to all who RSVP before the event. RSVP on Eventbrite

Schedule: Introductions, 30 minute documentary premiere, 30 minute panel discussion, open Q&A with the audience.


The event will have closed captioning and the documentary will be open captioned.


Valerie Fletcher, Team Leader

Valerie Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD).  Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. She currently oversees projects ranging from the development of design guides for accessibility compliance and inclusive design to a wide range of consultation and design services to public, and private entities in the US and globally. She created the IHCD User/Expert Contextual Inquiry Lab which has over 500 people with lived experience of a physical, sensory or brain-based functional issue engaged in the evaluation of places, products and services. Her research focus is integrated social and environmentally sustainable solutions for multifamily housing, healthcare, culture, workplaces, and the public realm.  She has been a Special Advisor on Inclusive Design to the Open Society Institute and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. She is on the North American representative on the Board of the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University. The Boston Society of Architects awarded her the Women in Design award in 2005. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Architectural College.

PJ Moynihan, Producer / Director / Cinematographer

PJ Moynihan is an Emmy-Nominated Producer and Award-Winning Writer/Director.  He is Founder & CEO of Digital Eyes Film, a full services production company specializing in social impact media, feature films, and independent distribution.  Over nearly 20 years in the media & entertainment industry, Moynihan has logged experience creating, producing, and distributing countless productions, from short films for community based clients to major motion pictures with Hollywood talent.  His production credits include documentary films “Healing Voices” (2017), “Salmonboy” (2012), “Fight Town” (2011), “Eye on the Dream” (2007), and the feature film “Spaceman” (2016). Digital Eyes Film is currently in production with a documentary feature entitled “Recovering Addiction: A Public Health Rescue Mission” which is targeting a 2021 global release.

Dr. Erica Walker, Public Health Specialist and Primary Researcher

Erica Walker is an environmental epidemiologist and exposure assessments scientist interested in understanding how the built environment impacts human health. She is  a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health and is the Principal Investigator of Community Noise Lab. Community Noise Lab supports community identified sound and noise issues using real-time monitoring, smartphone technology, laboratory based experiments, and community engagement activities. Her work has been featured in prominent media including The Atlantic, Boston Globe, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.   Dr. Walker earned a B.S. and B.A in both mathematics and economics from Simmons College; A MS in environmental economics and urban planning from Tufts University; and a ScD in environmental health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Matthew Brault, Demographic and Statistical Research Consultant

Matthew Brault has been a demographic and statistical researcher consulting with IHCD’s New England ADA Center since 2016. He has a decade of experience working as the primary disability subject matter expert with the U.S. Census Bureau’s Health and Disability Statistics Branch where he authored reports on the prevalence and characteristics of the population of people with disabilities. His research has examined how people with disabilities and chronic conditions respond to surveys and how definitions of disability from various policies align with operational definitions of disability in household surveys.

Mr. Brault holds a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown and is currently a PhD candidate in Health Policy at Harvard University.