The Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 (LCA! 2.0) commitment addresses the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in media by: 1) increasing employment of people with disabilities in-front-of and behind-the camera/keyboard; 2) improving authentic disability-inclusive diversity portrayals; and, 3) expanding accessible media by those who are Deaf, blind and have other disabilities across all entertainment platforms.
This commitment focuses on four key components to achieve these goals. The first component, which forms the cornerstone of LCA! 2.0, includes two Call-to-Action Summits. Planning Teams will start strategic planning in October, designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The first Summit will take place in early Spring, 2016 at CUNY, and the second is planned for The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. The Summits will bring together industry leaders to share best practices and strategies and also focus on Resume Review/Speed Interviewing whereby recruiters, hiring managers, diversity and inclusion experts, talent acquisition, and university relations executives meet and interview college students, recent graduates and veterans with disabilities to be considered for internships and employment.
The second component focuses on developing ten co-branded scholarships, internships and fellowships, several are already funded. The Loreen Arbus Foundation will establish the first two; a national news outlet will fund and launch another internship for a journalism student with a disability in Spring 2016. Additional internships focus on other media such as advertising, interactive, television and films. Industry associations and companies are committed to adding disability outreach into existing diversity internship programs. During the course of this commitment the Loreen Arbus Foundation and EIN SOF Communications will secure the remaining co-branded scholarships, internships and fellowships through new partnerships and grant opportunities.
The third component will support partners in collaborating with disability-focused foundations, corporations, industry associations, unions and federal agencies. This will include a research component that will draw on interviews with students and young professionals with disabilities, including veterans, to understand why they opt out of and choose not to develop careers in media. Through the research, the Loreen Arbus Foundation and EIN SOF intend to develop self-identification strategies for people with disabilities, designed to increase employment.
The fourth and final component is the creation of a communications and information hub/portal to house and disseminate critical issues, resources and opportunities identified in Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Summits.
This commitment is grounded in research and information gathered through the two-day LCA! 2.0 Think Tank session that was held in July 2015. Participants included thought leaders from academia, the private sector, advocacy groups, the disability community, and youth with disabilities. The Think Tank session also laid the groundwork and built stakeholder capacity for this multi-pronged commitment.
July 2015 April 2016: Focus on First and Second Component:
Identify key stakeholder relationships (media industry, academic and disability community); Gather information and resources; and through the Call-to-Action Summits, build a sustainable talent pipeline of candidates with disabilities including college students, recent graduates and veterans with disabilities). During this timeframe, the scope of the commitment is established, expanded, and driven by the content, research, resources and information shared at the LCA! 2.0 Think Tanks and Call-to-Action Summits.
April 2016 October 2016: Focus on First, Second and Third Component:
Recommendations from 2015 Think Tanks and Summits will be entered into a master database, to be tracked with the project management tool, Dashboard. Dashboard will analyze results in order to: identify gaps; begin research on youth and young professionals with disabilities; illuminate successful components; deconstruct headwinds (i.e.; create informational tool kits; and, develop and test replicability of the resume review and speed interviewing aspects of the Summits on a regional basis.
November 2016 October 2017: Focus on all Four Components:
Results, success, and recommendations created in the 2016 Think Tanks and Summits will be entered into a master database, rate of success will be compared and tracked with Dashboard to further analyze results, and proven approaches will be expanded to new media markets in Washington, DC, Chicago and Boston in subsequent years. LAF and EIN SOF will also begin construction of the Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 web portal/information hub to house and disseminate resources, best practices, stakeholder content, media advocacy toolkits, employer guides, and critical issues identified in Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 Think Tanks and Summits.
Media has the power to shatter myths or reinforce stereotypes about Americas largest minority people with disabilities. The 2010 U.S. Census reports, 56.7 million Americans have disabilities. For too long, people with disabilities have been portrayed in the media as sick, frail and unproductive members of society. The Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 commitment has the power, focus and potential to change that.
Because young people with disabilities self-select out of college majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), disability-savvy foundations have developed programs to address this trend and encourage youth to consider STEM fields. It has been observed by CUNY and other colleges that youth with disabilities also self-select out of entertainment and broadcasting, however, no sustainable effort until now, has addressed this issue.
Each year, GLAAD (formerly the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) presents the Where We Are At on TV Report, which measures diverse characters on Primetime, scripted television including those with disabilities. In 2014, out of 813 primetime characters (not in reality shows), only 1.4% are depicted as characters with disabilities. Further, not all of those characters are portrayed by performers with disabilities, which is generally offensive for the community of people living with disabilities.
In fact, a 2005 SAG-UCLA report revealed only 0.05% of all speaking roles, including voice and sign language, are performed by actors with disabilities, while the population of Americans with disabilities is 19% or 56.7 million. The Loreen Arbus Foundation (LAF), EIN SOF Communications, and other partners are joining forces to address the issue of underrepresentation of people with disabilities in all forms of traditional media, broadcast and entertainment, as well as emerging digital platforms in front of and behind the screen. This stark underrepresentation contributes to a severe lack of professional media role models for youth with disabilities, and perpetuates the myth of invisibility of people with disabilities.
The LCA! 2.0 Initiative seeks financial resources, additional partners and capacity-building support to scale up efforts to increase employment of people with disabilities in all forms of media; and, mainstream authentic disability-inclusive diversity portrayals and images that ultimately raise the expectations and awareness of the potential of people with disabilities.
LCA! 2.0 also seeks partners to support job training for persons with disabilities, as well as employers who can either offer co-branded scholarships, internships, fellowships, apprenticeships or job placements either at their own entity and possibly its general market or diversity advertising and marketing agencies of record.
The Loreen Arbus Foundation and EIN SOF Communications are developing select co-branded partnerships that offer goodwill and promotional opportunities to showcase corporate, academic, government and disability-inclusive NGOs best practices and stakeholder collaborations during the LCA! 2.0 Think Tanks and Call-to-Action Summits. Each Summit includes a resume review/speed interviewing component and the opportunity for partner entities to develop a co-branded internship.
LAF/EIN SOF invites those companies and media outlets not yet aware of the LCA! 2.0 initiative the opportunity to create and/or fortify a robust disability-inclusive diversity talent pipeline of candidates with disabilities, including veterans to join the workforce of partner entities.
LCA! 2.0 offers dynamic opportunities for targeted outreach and valuable resources to the partner entities that can be beneficial to inform and guide a more authentic portrayal and framing of all marginalized diversity entities, including youth and adults with disabilities in partner entity communications, recruiting and marketing efforts.