Voices of youth with disabilities expands

Over 1 in 4 U.S. adults live with a disability, a stat likely much higher as we come to understand the effects of a complex global health crisis like Covid-19. With a need to change policies, products, schools, and even work culture to ensure ableism does not further push out these underserved communities, we’re also at the beginnings of a major cultural shift. Today, we’re discussing disability in media as we highlight three disability advocates reshaping the narrative of tomorrow.


Netflix is betting on Ashley Eakin, a breakout filmmaker whose own disability influences “her passion to pursue stories that advocate more diverse representation for people with disabilities.” With films focused on telling the intersectional stories of those with disabilities, Eakin is already gaining major industry praise for her “Forgive Us Our Trespasses” and “SINGLE” films. But Eakin isn’t stopping there as she currently works on developing a Gen Z tale set “in the world of disabilities” hitting Netflix screens soon (insert “everyone liked that” meme).


20-year-old Gen Z model Ellie Goldstein makes history as she paves the way for Down syndrome models through global campaigns for the likes of Gucci and Vogue. Recently, Goldstein was featured in Adidas’s I’MPOSSIBLE campaign, which highlights individuals breaking down barriers through purposefully inclusive casting. Yet, Goldstein is doing more than just increasing today’s representation. She’s inspiring others with Down syndrome to step into the light, like fellow Gen Z model, 22-year-old Beth Mathews, who’s now starting her own legacy as she helps shape the culture around tomorrow’s models.


When Emily Flores was 15, she felt fed up with the way the media portrayed and discussed people with disabilities. So, the teen created what is now Cripple Media, a Gen Z-run company “striving to train and center young disabled media professionals to lead conversations in mainstream media.” Cripple Media covers everything from culture and identity to politics as they amplify disabled youth’s POV, an example of diverse voices Gen Z seeks that continues to be massively overlooked in mainstream media.

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