Amanda is a filmmaker who is currently in production of her first feature documentary called The R-Word, which is about the word retard(ed). She is the proud little sister of Gabrielle who lives with Down syndrome, her personal inspiration for The R-Word film, and hopes to help change the conversation surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Amanda and her husband founded Thorough Productions in the DC metro area in 2010 and produce, direct, edit, and shoot original and freelance projects for film, television and the web, as well as provide on-camera and voice-over talent. Clients include: the U.S. Department of Education, Custom Safaris and the Delaware Coalition for Health & Justice. Amanda has a B.A. from the University of Delaware in English and Black American Studies.
Liz Weintraub has a long history of leadership in self advocacy, and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations.
Liz is the immediate past chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Liz a faculty member of The National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware and is the Past President of the Board of Directors for Shared Support Maryland, a progressive provider organization.
Ellen is a blogger, magazine editor and writer, and proud mom of three. She writes Love That Max, an award-winning blog about kids with special needs who kick butt. One of Babble’s Top 100 Mom Blogs, it’s been featured on CNN.com, Today.com, The Huffington Post and MSN.com. Ellen also writes blogs for Parents.com and Babble. A magazine editor by day, she’s held senior positions at Glamour, Redbook, Good Housekeeping and Child and freelance-edited for SELF, American Baby, People StyleWatch and Martha Stewart Living. She also consults with sites on content, including Disney’s BabyZone, Huggies.com and Makeup.com. Her writing has appeared in Real Simple, Good Housekeeping and Redbook. She’s currently at Health magazine. In her spare time, she likes to breathe.
Kari Wagner-Peck is a blogger, storyteller and development consultant who home-schools with her son Thorin. She is also the writer/performer/producer of the theatrical production Not Always Happy — a social justice storytelling
Kari’s work can be found here:
Jennifer is first and foremost the luckiest mom in the world to a beautiful boy named Zachary who happens to have Down Syndrome. She has just finished a 20 year tenure in the rubber recycling industry as Vice President of American Rubber Technologies in Jacksonville, Florida and beginning a new chapter as the President of Equi Cool Down, an equine cooling products company based in Jacksonville, Florida. In her “spare time,” she has dedicated her life to making this a better world her her son and others like him-fighting hate-speak on the internet, making sure he is given the respect that he deserves and assuring the he is able to make choices in his life-the same as anyone else.
Cullen is an actor and screenwriter. His oldest son Gabriel happened to be born with Down syndrome. Both he and his typical little brother, Cameron, deserve to grow up in a world where all hate speech is a thing of the past. Way too often scripts and potential projects come across my desk that perpetuate hate speech toward individuals with disabilities. It makes me see red. I’ve longed for way to channel the emotion. That’s why I’m a Family Member; I want to be a part of the solution not the problem. Only then will I start to feel like I’m truly doing my job as a father.
They say Momma birds are fiercely protective of their young. Call me “Momma Bird” when it comes to protecting both my boys. Hate speech has no place in our home. I have watched up close and personal over the last 15 years as hate speech has become accepted common place in mainstream media. It chips away at my soul. I bring to Family Member a background in marketing, but more importantly I bring my background as an outspoken advocate for individuals with disabilities. You don’t have to like me, just stay out of “Momma Bird’s” way.
Julie Petty is an accomplished self-advocate from Arkansas and has been a leader in the self-advocacy movement in Arkansas and nationally for several years. President Barack Obama recently appointed Julie to be a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas journalism department. She is the past President of SABE (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered) from 2006-2008. In 1998, she established Arkansas People First and helped it grow statewide. She has served on boards and advisory councils related to disability policy. Julie has keynoted many national and state conferences to spread the word about self advocacy. Julie joined the staff at Partners for Inclusive Communities, the Arkansas UCEDD, in August of 2008 where she will work on various projects to educate people with disabilities.
Pete Le Grys
Pete has worked with people with special needs in England for the last 25 years. He started off supporting people to live independently in their communities. Most of his work has been with small self advocacy groups and people first groups. While working with these groups he developed an interest in using photographs and drawings to explain things. He then went to work on producing documents and information in an easy read style. He has a strong interest in supporting people with disabilities to be able to choose their own staff, hate crimes targeting disability, keeping people safe and recording people’s stories from long stay institutions.