Public Media Moves to Include As Americans With Disabilities Act Turns 30

July 23, 2020

Move To Include

From first-person stories of living with a disability to a virtual forum on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their lives, public media is spotlighting the experiences of people with disabilities during July as the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 30.

Local public television stations across the country are producing original programming through Move To Include, a public media initiative that amplifies disability issues and promotes inclusion of people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Founded in 2014 by WXXI Public Media and the Golisano Foundation in Rochester, NY, Move To Include has expanded to five more public media stations across the country through a $645,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).

“Public media belongs to everyone and Move to Include is an important part of our mission to ensure inclusion for people with disabilities,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “CPB is proud to support this effort to replicate a successful community-based model through locally managed and operated public media stations.”         

Move to Include stations and disability-themed programming include:

  • WXXI, Rochester, New York. WXXI News’ Inclusion Desk is producing stories on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected those with disabilities. The WXXI LIVE Forum, “The Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities” premieres tonight (July 23) on WXXI-TV.
  • WFYI, Indianapolis. WFYI is airing “No Limits,” a documentary on Indiana School for the Blind and Vision Impaired students working with Indianapolis arts organizations to design more accessible experiences.
  • WGCU Public Media, Southwest Florida. WGCU and Best Buddies of Southwest Florida held a Digital Storytelling Workshop during which teams with disabled members learned interviewing, editing and production skills. The videos they created are available on YouTube. WGCU-FM’s Gulf Coast Life podcast features people with disabilities and local organizations that provide services for them.
  • WCNY Public Media, Syracuse. In honor of the ADA anniversary, WNCY-TV will air “ADA 30th Anniversary for Our Times,” followed by “Connect NY: The ADA Today.” WCNY-FM’s “Capitol Pressroom” is presenting Move to Include segments each Monday in July.
  • Iowa PBS. Iowa PBS aired “Accessibility Now,” featuring Iowans with disabilities discussing the Americans With Disabilities Act, followed by an “Iowa Press Special: Americans With Disability Act” discussion of the ADA. “The Life Autistic” documentary also aired earlier in July and is streaming on-demand.
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting. OPB is producing programming related to the Fairview Training Center, which was a state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities for nearly 100 years. The program will broadcast later this year.

In addition to producing local content, public media stations are airing curated content by Move To Include, including episodes of “Reel South” and “POV,” and children’s programs such as “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Arthur” and “Peg+Cat.” Stations are creating new resources for PBS LearningMedia and hosting virtual engagement events for their local communities.

Public television stations recently began broadcasting “Signing Black in America,” the first documentary about Black ASL, the unique dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) that developed within historically segregated African American Deaf communities. Check local listings for more details.

WORLD Channel, the public television multicast channel that reaches 72 percent of U.S. television households, is airing and streaming five disability-themed films this month – Vision Portraits, Enter the Faun, Deej, Intelligent Lives and Perfectly Normal for Me – in its “America ReFramed” documentary series. In addition, World Channel will broadcast Move To Include curated content on July 26, the 30th anniversary of the date that President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law. Check or local listings for more details.