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Tools for Change: Disability Identity and Culture

DVD Format (Running time: 22 Minutes, Close Captioned) and    
Facilitator's Guide (soft cover, 70 pages)

Produced by Advocating Change Together, this documentary-style video is a wild and exhilarating trip into the poignant issues and raw energy of contemporary "disability culture".Disability Identity and Culture is part of the Tools for Change series produced by Advocating Change Together. The experimental documentary Disability Culture Rap is the primary tool in this kit.

Bold and controversial, Disability Culture Rap mixes artistic expression, politics, and humor to move audiences to a deeper understanding of disability from a minority and cultural perspective. Shot on location in Berkeley, CA and Minneapolis, MN, this work includes performances by Neil Marcus, David Roche (The Church of 80% Sincerity), Lee Williams, Ben Stuart, and Afi-Tiombe A. Kambon. Photographs from Tom Olin, Brenda Prager, Anthony Tusler, Frank Moore, Simon Fulford, and dozens of other contributors reveal the many meanings of disability culture from the inside out.

Featuring poet, performer, the "Queen Mother of Gnarly" herself, Cheryl Marie Wade, Disability Culture Rap takes a fresh look at what it means to be disabled in America. Yes, Virginia, there is a disability culture, and at the core of this culture is empowerment, pride, and a flat out, no apologies celebration of difference.

This is disability in the words of people with disabilities themselves.

With its brash and celebratory approach to the disability experience, this video rails against the "fate worse than death" stereotypes promulgated by euthanasia advocates. It defies the pity-based stereotypes of disability telethons. It is a startling but wonderful awakening to those who live comfortably outside the realities of disability.

Disability Culture Rap is a passionate and proud pronouncement of disability culture in America. As the producers say, it “covers the issues that set our souls on fire: freedom of choice, disability pride, independent living, the power of language and images, sexuality, community, and the right to live with dignity.”

The accompanying Facilitator’s Guide is primarily intended for participants with disabilities. As a tool for cultivating pride, self confidence, activism and self-advocacy, it features 12 group exercises.

Diversity World's comment: This video is the most powerful testament to "disability culture" and "disability pride" that we have ever seen. Yes, it is controversial as well - it isn't a just a "feel good" video and it is bound to stimulate discussion. It also doesn't have an employment focus but we wanted it in our store anyway. We think this is a great tool for empowering job seekers with disabilities - to give them a sense of pride and belonging to a movement that is fervent and strong. We particularly recommend it for young people with disabilities - every high school student with a disability should have the opportunity to see this one!


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