Get the Arts and Disability Involved in the Human Rights Discussion

As artists with disabilities or who care about this subject, we are on the front lines of the of the disability rights movement.  We may not even realize it, but we are.  We are often the most vibrant representation of the idea of “disability” people are exposed to.  We are daily in the fields weeding out the old stereotypes and planting the seeds of shifting paradigms.  And often times we are so busy and caught up in the creative process, we forget to take a step back and see this forest for the trees we are tending.

So I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of two important dicussions coming up:

First is a forum being hosted by the NEA and ODEP

There is an online discussion happening on careers in the arts for persons with disabilities sponsored by ODEP and the NEA.  Don’t miss this opportunity to share your ideas and comment on others’.  Your experiences are important!

And second is an ipmortant discussion of International Human Rights as connected with the 10th Anniversary of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilites on January 19.  You can find the information location and where to RSVP below, but I really encourage all to get involved in both of these exciting opportunites.

Save the Date

Transatlantic Reflections:

The Promise and Realities of Human Rights for All
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) will host a discussion with American Marshall Memorial Fellows Gary C. Norman, Esq. L.L.M. (MMF ‘08) and Kerry Thompson, Ed.M. (MMF ‘14) in recognition of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

GMF’s distinguished alumni will reflect on human rights progress since 1948 and the future of human rights in today’s global community.  Leaders from diverse human rights initiatives will join this discussion to elevate human rights on the transatlantic agenda.

A detailed agenda will be shared closer to the date.  Panelists include:

Charlotte McClain Nhlapo, World Bank

Charlie Kellett, U.S. Department of State
Ann Cody, U.S. Department of State
Katherine Guernsey, American University and disability rights lawyer
Sheila Durant, Esq.


  • January 19, 2018, at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. 1744 R. Street N.W.
  • Join us for networking and light fare from 2:00pm – 2:30pm
  • Program runs 2:30 pm – 5:00pm, followed by wine and appetizers

This discussion is the first Gary Norman and Kerry Thompson will co-facilitate during their yearlong awareness-raising series on the transatlantic partnership and emerging voices of global citizens with disabilities.  The series is in fulfillment of their alumni action initiative, “Globally Engaging Disability – Including Each, Strengthening All.”

Gary C. Norman, Esq. L.L.M.

Being this uncommonly heard person with a disability on the transatlantic stage with his third guide dog, Gary leads at the intersection of law practice, personal connectivity because of the power of partnership, and shared responsibility about disability.  He has extensive experience as a dispute resolution oriented attorney, always hoping to broker people together.  He serves on rosters as an arbitrator and as a mediator.

Kerry M. Thompson, Ed.M.

Kerry has been a lifelong activist for people with disabilities beginning as a self-advocate as a DeafBlind individual.  She is the Executive Director of Silent Rhythms, Inc., dedicated to achieving inclusion in the arts for people of all abilities. She co-created Text4Deaf, a communication tool to bridge the communication gap between the Deaf and Hearing communities in healthcare. Since 2008, she has worked to advance human rights through United Nations Conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals as part of her work with the Disability Rights Fund. She is the co-author for Human Rights and Adolescence (2014. University of Pennsylvania Press) and has written several blogs including “Hurricanes in my Backyard” and “DeafBlindness: The Lefts Behinds in a Leave No One Behind Era.” She completed a Master’s degree from Harvard University with a focus on international law and human rights. 

We look forward to welcoming you. Let us know if you require accommodations. There is an accessible entrance, requiring advance notice.     

Please provide your RSVP to Ms. Sara Perredda,

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