We the Commuters presents an exploration of accessibility in 2020. You’ll hear storytelling from writer and activist Emily Ladau and professor and disability rights advocate April Coughlin, new and engaging visualizations by rising civil designers, and moving performances by creatives in the disability community including Jerron Herman and Zazel-Chavah O’Garra.
Plus, get a chance to share your most pressing concerns in front of key decision makers who have the power to make change. WNYC’s Shumita Basu and others host the evening.
Pre-event activities TBA and to begin at 6PM.
Emily Ladau is a passionate disability rights activist, writer, speaker, and digital communications consultant whose career began at the age of 10, when she appeared on several episodes of Sesame Street to educate children about her life with a physical disability. A native of Long Island, New York, Emily graduated with a B.A. in English from Adelphi University in 2013. In 2017, she was named as one of Adelphi’s 10 Under 10 Young Alumni. In 2018, she was awarded the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Emily is the Editor in Chief of the Rooted in Rights Blog and she co-hosts “The Accessible Stall Podcast,” a show that dives into disability issues. Her writing has been published in outlets including The New York Times, SELF, Salon, Vice, and HuffPost and she has spoken before audiences across the United States, from the U.S. Department of Education to the United Nations. More about Emily’s work can be found on her website, Words I Wheel By. Follow her on Twitter at @emily_ladau.
Zazel-Chavah O’Garra is a native New Yorker who attended the University of Michigan and Empire State College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in dance performance. A Presidential Arts Scholar, she performed with Mark Dendy Dance Company and Alvin Ailey Wksp II. Zazel performed Off-Broadway and in numerous musical theatre stage productions in the U.S. and abroad and served as a movement coach for “AS THE WORLD TURNS”. As a professional model, she appeared on two Essence Magazine covers and several print and runway jobs. She also appeared in national, regional commercial industrials and supplied voice overs for a number of ads.
She is the recipient of the VSA-John F. Kennedy- National Teaching Artist fellowship and named the inaugural member of the White House Disability Liaison 2014. Zazel appeared on Dr. Oz to share her life as a brain tumor survivor. Wanting to share her story she performs Inside/Out (voices of the disability community) directed by Ping Chong nationwide. Recent performance includes: This/Ability-Samuel Beckett Theatre, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers, Undesirable Elements-Lincoln Center, Cooper Hewitt Museum, and Respectability-Positive Exposure 109 and Judson Church. Professional Affiliations: Arts and Education Committee-Board of Education, Disability Task Force, DANCE/NYC, Ambassador-Voices Against Brain Cancer. Zazel holds an MSW from Fordham University and is a member of SAG-AFTRA, EQUITY.
Zazel is the founder and Artistic Director of ZCO/DANCEPROJECT, a physically integrated dance company. ZCODP collaborates with different choreographers to create a varied selection of works that challenge the dancers in new ways and excite our audiences.
April Coughlin is a professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz in the School of Education. She also worked as a high school English teacher in New York City public schools for six years. April earned her PhD in Inclusive Education with a focus on Disability Studies at Syracuse University. Her research and teaching focus on access and equity for students with disabilities in schools. A “wheeler” since the age of six and a life-long disability rights advocate, April is committed to increasing awareness and education about the need for physical access and inclusion for individuals with disabilities in schools and the community.
Jerron Herman is a disabled dancer who creates and collaborates. Last year he premiered works at The Whitney Museum, Danspace Project, and Performance Space bringing along treasured artist-friends and long-time collaborators to support the pieces. He is currently developing Wired with Kinetic Light for an August premiere at The Shed in NYC. Jerron also models having walked runway for Nike and shot for Tommy Hilfiger. He’s been featured on CBS, Buzzfeed, and Great Big Story about his work in disability art.