Who are the people from the disability community making the world better for all of us? That’s what the inclusion team at San Francisco Bay Area libraries wanted to know. They reached out to the public for their opinions and were enthusiastically overwhelmed with responses. As a result, 54 individuals are being honored as “Disability Changemakers” in an innovative traveling exhibit.
“The Changemakers exhibit features a diverse group of people with disabilities in the Bay Area who have made a positive impact on their community,” said Elizabeth Karr, Library Manager of Millbrae. “There are artists, teachers, advocates, lawyers, and more immensely talented folks.”
The exhibit marks the initial launch of a long-term initiative by San Mateo County Libraries, and San Francisco and San Jose Public Libraries’ to provide more inclusive programs and services for people with disabilities. Changemakers features individuals who are making a difference through activism, arts and culture, business, education, leadership, science and technology and sports.
“All of the Changemakers included in the exhibit have been nominated in an open process,” said Fran Osborne, Curator for Changemakers 2019. “All of them have had a big impact on the people around them. Each portrait has also been created by an artist with a disability.”
Yes, what makes this exhibit even more special is that it features original portraits of each Changemaker. The portraits were created by disabled artists either working independently or as participants of Artful Steps, ArtReach, Creativity Explored, NIAD, and the Pomeroy Center.
“Disability Changemakers – Bay Area Disability Pride” opened at the Half Moon Bay Library with a full house excited to view the portraits, read the stories, and listen to these amazing Changemakers:
- Stephanie Faso, a grad student who mentors other young people using speech-generating devices.
- Russ Stein, co-owner and founder of Mozzeria, a pizzeria, mobile pizza truck, and soon-to-open franchises in other states−all staffed by Deaf people.
- Tiffany Yu, social impact entrepreneur, diversity and inclusion champion, and founder of Diversability.
- Dennis Billups, veteran activist known as the Chief Morale Officer of the 504 protest in 1977.
Disability Changemakers will continue its journey, travelling throughout the Bay Area in 2019. The original portraits will be on permanent display at the San Francisco Main Public Library in 2020.
“We hope this project will continue to expand and provide a valuable resource in the coming years.”
For more information:
- Visit Disability Changemakers website for a complete list of Changemakers and their portraits.
- Download the Disability Changemakers Reference Binder
- Exhibition dates and locations
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