NOD Statement on ‘Game of Thrones’ Ending Featured by TMZ

NOD issued a statement to popular culture outlet TMZ this week on the ending of hit HBO show Game of Thrones, and the drama’s depiction of disability following a flurry of social media activity on the subject. Felicia Nurmsen, our Managing Director of Employer Services, gave the following statement (WARNING: SPOILERS):

The National Organization on Disability has been thrilled to see disability featured in the hit HBO show Game of Thrones as an ongoing story thread. The series, though set in a long-ago realm of fantasy, has for eight years served as a mirror for society on many subjects, including disability. For most of their respective journeys, Tyrion Lannister and Bran Stark (the show’s most prominent characters with disabilities) are treated at best with pity, and at worst with revulsion and antipathy. Despite disdain and dismissal, each demonstrates grit, creativity, fortitude, wisdom, and courage in not only surviving the long winter, but also in rising to significant positions of leadership; an excellent parallel to the experience of people with disabilities in the workforce. In the moment that ‘Bran the Broken’ is named King of the Six Kingdoms, choosing Tyrion as his chief adviser, Game of Thrones (perhaps accidentally) adroitly captured the irony of disability in America: No matter how much we achieve, the overall impression of our community is fundamentally still one of brokenness. NOD has been working to change that narrative, and generational, landmark media properties like Game of Thrones help drive these conversations further—whether viewers liked the ending or not.

Click here to see the article on TMZ.

Looking Back at NOD’s Networking Roundtable | “Driving Innovation through ERGs”

RECAPPING: DRIVING INNOVATION THROUGH EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUPS
April 4th, 2019 | Hosted by L’Oréal USA

Today, 90 percent of the country’s Fortune 500 companies have ERGs. Many of these groups were founded as a response to discrimination, but in recent years, these groups have been increasingly recognized for their valuable contributions they bring to their employers, especially with regards to diversifying talent streams.

The NOD Corporate Leadership Council‘s Networking Roundtable, Driving Innovation through Employee Resource Groups, provided an in-depth look at businesses excelling at building disability inclusive cultures through their Employee Resource/Affinity Groups (ERGs/AGs).

  • The event, moderated by Karen Brown, featured opening remarks from NOD’s Carol Glazer, while L’Oréal USA’s Frédéric Rozé discussed his company’s commitment to workplace disability inclusion.
  • DiversityInc’s Shane Nelson dove into case studies from companies activating their ERGs to target new business opportunities.
  • Panelists, Cassie Liverance of L’Oréal, Laura Bailey from Capital One, John Sasso of EY, and Stephanie Magner-Tripp from New York Life, gave real life examples of how their companies’ ERGs are changing attitudes and actions from the inside.
  • Closing remarks were shared by L’Oréal USA’s Angela Guy and NOD’s Carol Glazer.

 

Welcome remarks by NOD President Carol Glazer

Welcome remarks by L’Oréal USA President & CEO Frédéric Rozé

CLC Members: See full video coverage of the event by logging in to our Members’ Only Portal and visiting the Resources page | Not a member? Find out about the many benefits of joining today!  

 

 

Trump’s Budget is Full of Cuts Aimed at People with Disabilities

Funding for the Special Olympics may have been restored, but many more important programs are still on the chopping block.

April 17, 2019 | The New York Times Op-Ed By Tom Ridge
Mr. Ridge is the chairman of the National Organization on Disability.

Gov. Ridge gesturing while speaking at a podium

Last month’s proposal from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to cut millions of dollars in funding for Special Olympics caused a public uproar and a bipartisan backlash fierce enough to force President Trump to restore it days later. That reversal was welcome. But it was also incomplete. Most Americans do not know that the 2020 budget is still full of cuts that aim directly at many other programs that support people with disabilities.

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget would make cuts across multiple agencies and offices that serve Americans with disabilities, stripping them of essential resources. Of particular urgency to me and many of my colleagues are the devastating impacts that the weakening of these agencies would have on job seekers with disabilities.

Independent living centers, assistive-technology programs, supports for individuals living with brain injuries and family caregiver support services are among those programs and services on the chopping block. So too is the Office of Disability Employment Policy. This office, within the Labor Department, is the only nonregulatory federal agency that promotes policies and coordinates with employers and all levels of government to increase workplace success for people with disabilities. It also holds federal contractors to account for meeting certain hiring goals.

Combined, these cuts total in the tens of millions of dollars. Cutting funding to these critical programs — that turn tax consumers into taxpayers — is not only unjust but also fiscally foolish.

That’s especially true now, at a time when our nation is seeing historically low unemployment rates and employers need to find new sources for talent.

Work is one of the most important issues affecting the some 50 million Americans with disabilities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that roughly 30 percent of Americans ages 16 to 64 with a disability were employed, compared with nearly 75 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for job seekers with disabilities is roughly 9 percent — more than double that of the nondisabled population.

Employment for Americans with disabilities remains one of the great unfulfilled promises of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act. The law has improved lives in many significant ways. And while some employers have taken important steps in inclusion and hiring, most are not fully tapping that rich talent pool of 20 million people with disabilities who are ready to work.

Just recently, the National Organization on Disability, which I have been privileged to lead for 13 years, joined with 12 of the largest, most politically influential disability organizations from across the country to work on behalf of policies that support disability employment.

It’s something that really ought to have happened much sooner. But each of our organizations — the National Down Syndrome Society, the American Association of People With Disabilities, the National Federation of the Blind and many others — has been focused on its own priorities. But when we sat around a table together we realized that the issue of employment connects us all. It remains one of the most vexing challenges facing the disability community today.

Fortunately, these groups have been able to put aside our disparate agendas and find common cause. We recognized that collectively, we represent a powerful political constituency of scores of millions of people.

When this coalition of disability organizations recently met with the labor secretary, he notably didn’t ask about political affiliations. He understood, as we do, that our issue cuts across party lines. The most important social and economic issues all do.

That’s why the funding must be restored by the administration. And I hope to see bipartisan support from Congress. Budget decisions that harm people with disabilities and their families will hurt our economy and weaken us all. Any business that hasn’t figured out how to benefit from the problem-solving abilities and the tenacity of people who spend their lives navigating a world that wasn’t built for them isn’t trying hard enough. We can help them.

I agree with Senators Bob Casey and Sherrod Brown, who recently wrote to the director of the Office of Management and Budget and said that any budget proposal by any administration should reflect the goals of the A.D.A.: equal opportunity, independent living, full participation and economic self-sufficiency. The exclusion of any group of people from our economy is not only a problem for those who’ve been excluded. It’s a scourge on our democracy that touches us all.

I urge the Trump administration to immediately restore this essential funding.

Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and the first secretary of homeland security, is the chairman of the National Organization on Disability. 

Read on The New York Times