While there are close to 50 million Americans living with disabilities, Lives Worth Living is the first television history of their decades-long struggle for equal rights. Produced and directed by Eric Neudel, Lives Worth Living is a window into a world inhabited by people with an unwavering determination to live their lives like everyone else, and a look back into a past when millions of Americans lived without access to schools, apartment buildings, and public transportation a way of life unimaginable today. Lives Worth Living premieres on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 10 PM (check local listings).
Lives Worth Living traces the development of the disability rights movement from its beginning following World War II, when thousands of disabled veterans returned home, through its burgeoning in the 1960s and 1970s, when it began to adopt the tactics of other social movements. Told through interviews with the movement’s pioneers, legislators, and others, Lives Worth Living explores Americans with a wide variety of disabilities including the blind, deaf, mentally, & physically challenged banded together to change public perception and policy. Through demonstrations and legislative battles, the disability rights community finally secured equal civil rights with the 1990 passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of the most transformative pieces of civil rights legislation in American history.
To learn more about the film, and the issues involved, visit the film companion website at www.pbs.org/independentlens/. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker, and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section, where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.
About the Participants, in Order of Appearance: Fred Fay, (early leader in the disability rights movement); Ann Ford (director of the IL Nat’l Council on IL); Judy Heumann (leading disability rights activist); Judi Chamberlin (Mental Patients Liberation Front, a movement for the rights and dignity of people with mental illness); Dr. William Bronston (staff physician at Willowbrook dismissed after agitating for change)Bob Kafka (established ADAPT of TX): Zona Roberts (counselor, UC Berkeley’s Physically Disabled Student Prog & CIL, mother Ed Roberts); Pat Wright DREDF):
John Wodatch (Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Div US DoJ); Jack Duncan (Former Counsel, US House of Reps); Mary Jane Owen (disability rights activist, philosopher, policy expert, & writer) Marca Bristo (CEO, Access Living) Michael Winter (former director, Berkeley CIL); Lex Frieden (former director, Nat’l Council on the Handicapped; Dr. I. King Jordan, Pres Emeritus, Gallaudet Univ); Jeff Rosen (Gallaudet Univ); Sen Tom Harkin (D-Iowa); Bobby Silverstein(Chief Counsel, Sen Subcommittee on Disability Policy); Richard Thornburgh (US Att Gen ’88-’91) Tony Coelho (former Congressman, House Majority Whip ’86-’89);