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Eileen Grubba – Feisty, Fun, Fabulous

If Eileen Grubba’s name isn’t familiar, there’s a reason. She’s built a strong television career playing edgy characters in shows like Game of Silence, Sons of Anarchy, The Mentalist and HBO’s Hung, plus others. Her thespian roots stretch back to Atlanta and New York, where she acted in musicals, plays, commercials and independent films. A lifetime member of the ...
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The Milkshake Jones

The other day, I had a hankering for a vanilla shake. I don’t know why it was in my head, but I have a hunch that some mug of vanilla ice cream with whip cream popped up on some commercial, in between some mindless show I was watching, then got stuck in my subconscious only to begin knocking gently ...
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MotoArt

“Excuse me, sir, please do not touch that motorcycle.” The afternoon security guard rounded the corner with his hand perched over the holster of his two-way radio. I giggled like a preschooler, knowing my DNA was probably on every single nut and bolt of the crusted sculpture. “It’s OK, we have been quite intimate.” Whipping out my cellphone, I ...
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Guan Xiaolei – Freedom Through Art

Although many people come and go from the Guangzhou Youth Club on weekends, there is something catching everyone’s attention: a very special exhibition. At the end of one its corridors, hangs a collection of vivid paintings showcased against a backdrop of Time magazine covers. Each canvas exudes unfettered creativity. When sunlight lands on the paintings, various shades of red, ...
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Andy Erikson – One Funny Unicorn

Comedian Andy Erikson exudes sparkle. She’s quirky and giggly, with a mane of dark hair and smiley eyes, but her material, which she writes herself, belies a witty, nuanced mind. Here’s a cheat sheet on her: she was a popular contestant on the TV show, Last Comic Standing, guest starred on the TV series, Scream Queens, loves unicorns and ...
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Hurricanes, Fires and Earthquakes. Oh My

Lately, it seems as though hurricanes, fires and earthquakes are happening simultaneously around the world. It’s as if Mother Nature has a serious bone to pick with us, and has unleashed her fury. Some say it’s the Lord’s way of punishing us for doing wrong or, as one well-known celebrity put it, “God sends hurricanes to make sinners repent.” ...
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World Bank – Film Screening at the United Nations

At the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in June, ABILITY Magazine, ABILITY Corps and the World Bank co-hosted a panel and two film screenings. The attendees were shown two short films, A Different Approach, about the advantages of hiring people with disabilities, and a film by panelist James Sullivan called This is What Happens ...
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Steve Rohr – Inclusive Communicator

On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon ABILITY met with Steve Rohr. He showed up with a very welcomed ball of positive energy. Rohr mastered communications at school and continues to master it in life as he navigates through the world of diversity, a historically resisted topic. “I looked at the world, and I never wanted to be cookie-cutter. I’ve always ...
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Marsha Malamet – Music Legend

On a warm summer day, ABILITY’s Geri Jewell and David Zimmerman arrived at songwriter Marsha Malamet’s quaint bungalow, which boasts a view of the world-famous Hollywood sign. The host and her tail-wagging pups, MacDougal and Mikey, greeted them. As they settled in, Zimmerman pulled out his notes for the interview as if he’d been studying up! Marsha Malamet: You ...
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Focus Group — A Candid Look at Disability Inclusion

“There are no right or wrong answers. You’re here to represent all of the people who may think like you.” A focus group facilitator reassured a group of Hollywood insiders who are casting agents, writers and film-festival programmers. The nonprofit organization, RespectAbility, formed the focus group to try to better understand why people with disabilities make up nearly 20% ...
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Giving us the Facts of Life Part 1–Charlotte Rae

On a beautiful Los Angeles afternoon in a high-rise overlooking the city, contributing writers Geri Jewell and David Zimmerman had a wonderful visit with the legendary actress Charlotte Rae. Both Jewell and Rae starred in the 80s sitcom The Facts of Life. They were joined by publicist and friend, B. Harlan Boll, for a loving get-together of memories with ...
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Beauty and BPD–Syanne Centeno

  “I advise that you keep your diagnosis to yourself.” These were the first words my psychiatrist uttered upon revealing that I am living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is a serious mental illness that is highly stigmatized by the public, and even some mental health professionals refuse to treat those affected. The illness is characterized by severely ...
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Lion to Autism–Jamie Knight

“Can I pet your dog?” is a question that is rarely heard at the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference. Participants, speakers, and even hotel staff simply don’t ask. If it’s March, it’s conference season, and service dogs and their owners descend en masse to San Diego. These dogs are working as service animals: assisting people who are blind, have epilepsy, ...
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Bulletproof and Mental Health–Justin Peck

To say Justin Peck lives life at full-throttle would be inadequate. Yes, he’s a champion off-road motorcycle and race truck driver; yes, he’s a serial entrepreneur with numerous businesses including his own racing team; and yes, he outworks just about everyone on and off the track. But perhaps among his more noteworthy achievements is his openness navigating the perilous ...
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Art of Diverse Dancing–Candoco

  British weekly newspaper The Observer reviewed the Candoco Dance Company in 2007 with a bold statement: “Candoco is the company for which choreographers reserve their wildest and often most inventive work.” Today, Candoco is still living up to that description as it celebrates 25 years of dance in the UK. “We believe this is partly because of the ...
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gough — The Vision Behind Beernuts

Most filmmakers rely on their ability to see in order to make films. But Australian filmmaker and author gough’s vision doesn’t rely on sight. Instead gough (pronounced “goff”), who is legally blind, writes, directs, edits and produces all of his films with the help of a well-curated crew. His eleven-year-old company, Beernuts Productions, makes pointed documentaries and entertaining short ...
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Poetic Documentation–Yu Xiuhua

Yu Xiuhua is a poet with cerebral palsy who became massively popular when one of poems went viral. Thereafter, everything changed for her. Her poetry was published, her book signings drew crowds and her income increased dramatically. But not all that happened to Yu was joyful and positive. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer and died, and Yu divorced ...
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The Brotherhood of MS

For the past 75 years, while most of the country transitions into spring by swapping out snow shovels for garden hoes, a bazillion bikers from all over the country migrate to Daytona Beach for Bike Week. For most, it’s a ritual that starts by giving up shaving for a week or two, dusting off the leather patched vests and ...
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Dad on Aisle 7

Like millions of other Americans, grocery shopping is frequently a part of my weekly routine. I do it independently, and there’s a certain comfort in that. For example, knowing that I have enough money to grocery shop feels good, and a well-stocked refrigerator and cupboards mean that I can rest assured that I’ll have something to eat when I’m ...
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Can we Fast a Little Faster?

Being a Catholic, every year I’m hit with this thing called Lent. This is the Christian season of preparation before Easter. The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, self-denial, and spiritual discipline (Of course they would pick all the things I’m not good at). The purpose is to set aside ...