Adaptive Innovation 02 Mar
The Influential Humans Advocating For Disability Rights
When it comes to increasing inclusion for people with disabilities, it’s clear we still have a long way to go. But, we also know that real change occurs when empowered individuals aren’t afraid to speak up about what matters.
At EveryHuman, we believe in a world fuelled by inclusion and diversity, and we love celebrating the people who are boldly talking action. From entering Parliament, winning multiple gold medals, and even crawling for 96km, these influential humans are using their voices and their platforms to advocate for a brighter future.
Ali Stroker is an American actress and singer who made history in 2016 when she became the first wheelchair performer in a Broadway performance.
After suffering a spinal injury in a car accident when she was just two years old, Ali was left paralysed from the chest down and lost mobility in her legs. But, when she was asked to star in a backyard production of “Annie,” Ali knew she had found her calling.
In 2019, she made history once again by being the first wheelchair user to win a Tony award for her role as Ado Annie in “Oklahoma!” After her win, Ali powerfully addressed her acceptance speech to children living with disabilities and declared they are finally been represented on the stage. She has since used her platform to advocate for more accessible Broadway theatres, especially for performers backstage.
Mindy Scheier is the founder and CEO of the Runway of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organisation working towards a future of inclusion in the fashion industry for people with disabilities.
After her son, who lives with muscular dystrophy, wanted to start wearing jeans instead of sweatpants to school, Mindy altered a pair of jeans to fit over his leg brace. This sparked her desire to create fashionable clothing that would be accessible to everyone.
Since then, Mindy has continued to break down barriers in the fashion industry and create more mainstream adaptive clothing. In 2016, Runway of Dreams collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger to create the first-ever mainstream adaptive clothing line for children.
EveryHuman is proud to partner with the Runway of Dreams Foundation to highlight the need for mainstream adaptive apparel and showcase people with disabilities in fashion.
You can read more about this partnership here.
Cátia Malaquias is a lawyer and a mother of three beautiful children. After her son, Julius was born with Down Syndrome, Cátia founded ‘Starting With Julius,’ a not for profit organisation committed to promoting the equal representation of people with disability in advertising, media, and education.
Cátia is also the co-founder of the Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment, a platform encouraging action to improve the representation of people with disability in the media.
Her hard work and relentless pursuit for equal representation has led to her winning the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence Award in 2018 and the National Disability Award in 2017.
Senator Jordon Steele-John
Jordan Steele-John is renowned for being the youngest person in Australian history to take a seat in the Senate and the first wheelchair-using senator with cerebral palsy.
Since entering Parliament, Jordon has used his platform to make the Senate a more accessible space and has established a disability royal commission into abuse against people with disabilities.
Jordon’s fearlessness in calling out various politicians for neglecting disability policies and his outstanding disability advocacy has resulted in him being recognised in the 2018 McKinnon Prize for Political Leadership.
Dylan Alcott is an Australian wheelchair-basketballer turned wheelchair-tennis player. After being born with a tumor wrapped around his spinal cord, and undergoing a surgery that left him paraplegic, Dylan turned to sports as his lifeline.
In 2008, he won a gold medal in the Beijing Paralympic Games with the Australian basketball team when he was just 17, and won his second gold medal while playing wheelchair-tennis in the 2016 Rio Paralympics. In 2020, he won his sixth straight Australian Open Championship and called on all people with a disability to chase their dreams.
Dylan is now the founder of ‘The Dylan Alcott Foundation,’ which helps young Australians with disabilities overcome the barriers of entry to sports. He also founded his own music festival, Ability Fest, for those who may normally miss out on a festival-like experience. It includes a fully accessible venue, viewing platforms for wheelchair users, and AUSLAN translators for all main-stage acts.
We’re incredibly excited to be part of the 2020 Ability Fest and supporting this awesome cause. Come along for a day of sweet tunes, good food, and a chance to win EveryHuman merch!
Kurt Fearnley was born with a congenital disorder called sacral agenesis, which prevented the lower half of his spine from forming. Despite this, he threw himself into his love for sports and is now a three-time Paralympic gold medalist. In 2009, he even crawled the Kokoda Track (96 km) in Papua New Guinea to raise awareness for men’s health.
Kurt is committed to using his voice and his passion to talk honestly about the barriers the disability community face, and how all Australians can start to break them down. He devotes himself to many charitable organisations and was a founding member of the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s Advisory Council. In 2019, he was honoured for his various contributions by being named New South Wales Australian of the Year.