Monday, February 6, 2017

A Review of Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0, by Alec Frazier and Autistic Reality

The Attendance at Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0
I am writing to inform you about the wonderful disability and media symposium that is Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0!

Tari Hartman Squire
I got to know Tari Hartman Squire through a number of prior business dealings. She is the Founding CEO of EIN SOF Communications, Inc., a disability marketing firm. One thing that the firm does is promote disability inclusion in the media through its Lights! Camera! Access! Symposia.

My Invitation to the White House
I moved to the Washington, DC area on November 1 of 2016. I had not been there for three days yet when I received an invite to the main event for Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0, a key disability and media symposium. This event would be held at the White House, and proper permissions were needed. It was pretty amazing to get an official invite to the White House!

The Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB)
Almost all events held at the White House are actually held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB). I walked around the White House area taking photos of the beautiful architecture before I lined up for the conference. There was quite a bit of security to go through, but it was easy since we had the proper credentials.

Obama Director of Public Engagement Maria Town with Me, Alec Frazier
The event started with introductions by those in charge, including Tari Hartman Squire, Obama Director of Public Engagement Maria Town, and others.

One of the Panels
After this, there were few panel discussions. Some of the panelists were disability professionals, while other panelists were media professionals. A few people teleconferenced in from other places, including Los Angeles and New York City. The ability of people to teleconference into a meeting makes things much easier for all parties involved.

With Casey, one of my mentors!
At its heart, Lights! Camera! Access! Is a mentoring event, so in the midst of all of this, there were sessions where we, the younger and/or more inexperienced attendees, most of whom have disabilities, met with mentors in the disability rights and media fields. I myself met with some interesting professionals from an advertising firm in New York City. Other mentees came from around the country.

The Leaders of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition
In addition to all of this, there were many networking opportunities, and panels and workshops on mentoring and advocacy. Many professionals in both unique and general-purpose disability in media fields or present.

J.D., one of my mentors!
To follow up, I have had Skype conversations with some of my mentors, and other meetings with them in person. We have also exchanged contact information.

Roberta Cordano, President of Gallaudet University
 In addition to all of this, there was a second Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0 conference a couple months later. This one was also hosted by the White House, although it was not physically held at the White House, but was instead held at Gallaudet University, a remarkably relevant location given its disability rights history. I refer to this conference as Lights! Camera! Access! 2.5.

A Group Discussion at Lights! Camera! Access! 2.5 Disability & Media Industry Summit
There were many people at this second conference who are not able to make it to the original conference. At the second conference, I was able to meet with not one, but five mentors in the disability/media fields.

A Mentoring Session at Lights! Camera! Access! 2.5 Disability & Media Industry Summit
I highly recommend attendance at a Lights! Camera! Access! event. Your perceptions of the world around you will change, and you will get wonderful ideas for promoting inclusion, not just in disability and media, but in many other cross disciplinary fields!

In President Obama's office library after Lights! Camera! Access! 2.0!
This blog posting is the personal opinion of Alec Frazier and the professional policy of his advocacy firm, Autistic Reality. If you oppose it, please screen grab it! We are very proud of this opinion!

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