Storytellers Series

The Rooted in Rights Storytellers Series recruits, trains, equips and employs people with disabilities across the globe to tell their own stories through video. Storytellers write, produce and film their stories using smartphones, and tackle disability rights issues like access to employment, parenting rights and de-institutionalization. Check out the videos below and find out more about our Storytellers here.


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New Disabled Parent Adventures in Advocacy

Mother’s Day is a day were we celebrate our mothers. But did you know that PWD are more at risk of losing custody of their kids than non-disabled parents? Watch as Ivanova prepares to become a first-time mother.

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SSI: Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

If you’re on SSI, you want to make sure you are receiving your money after you turn 18.  Learn from our latest Storyteller, Yolanda Vargas, how to get and maintain control of your SSI benefits!  

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Error 404: Accessibility Not Found

Maddie Bright is one of our Storytellers finalists, and she is making her video debut!  In her video, Maddie shares why internet accessibility is important to disabled people and what you can do to raise awareness about inaccessible websites.

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The Right to Your Graduation

It’s the New Year, and that means we are just about six months away from graduation. Graduation is an exciting time to celebrate all of our accomplishments, but what if you can’t attend your own graduation because you have a disability?

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All Signs Point to Change

The International Symbol of Access is suppose to indicate barrier-free areas for all disabled people, but the symbol itself seems to be the biggest obstacle for many of us.

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Still Segregated

Blind students shouldn’t have to choose between knowledge and independence – but they are often forced to.  Does this sound like an equal education to you?  Courtney Cole calls out the inequality that blind students face in Washington State and across the US.

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Did Love Win?

Obergefell v. Hodges marked a huge legal victory for LGBTQ Americans. But what if marriage equality isn’t so equal after all?

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The Threatened Legacy of Independent Living with Alex Ghenis

At Berkeley, there is a fight to save the Disabled Students Residence Program (DSRP) that was founded by Ed Roberts.  Berkeley is viewed as the home of the modern Independent Living movement, but students are protesting to retain the programs and services they need to achieve their academic goals.  

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Towards an Inclusive Tunisia with Arbi Chouikh

How can a democratic government become more accessible and accountable to citizens with disabilities? Great examples can be found in Tunisia where disability rights advocates have made strong progress since the revolution of 2011.

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A Preflight Announcement with Noah Seidel

Like many of us gearing up for the holiday season, Storyteller Noah Seidel has been traveling a lot recently. Noah uses a wheelchair, and unfortunately, some airlines don’t know how to transport mobility devices. Noah, and others that have had mobility devices damaged or broken by airlines, want you to share your bad travel experiences using the #RightToFly and #DisabledAndFlying.

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Out on a Limb: Insurance Providers and Access to Prosthetics with Emily Harvey

Two million people in the U.S. have limb loss, and every year approximately 185,000 people have a limb amputated. Storyteller Emily Harvey is a disability rights attorney, triathlete, an amputee and is married to a prosthetist. Emily knows from experience how many people struggle to get appropriate prosthetic limbs due to cost and inadequate insurance coverage. Access to health care including prosthetic limbs is a human right.

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The Sagamihara 19 had lives worth living with Mizuki Hsu

The recent massacre in Sagamihara, Japan was carried out by someone who believes that people with disabilities had “brought pain and torture to their family and society.” As a Japanese citizen living with a disability, Rooted in Rights Storyteller Mizuki Hsu was deeply affected. She’s had strangers come up to her and say “your life must be hard” and “how pitiful.” These types of attitudes can lead people to put little value on the lives of people with disabilities. Mizuki wants everyone to know that living with a disability does not mean living in misery. The nineteen people killed in Sagamihara had lives worth living.

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Make this election count with Emily Ladau

Director’s statement

While disability has been gaining attention throughout the course of this election cycle, I believe more can be done to focus on key issues that affect the disability community. As such, my goal in creating this video was to hold creators of all political ads and all who are involved in campaigns accountable to include disability rights in a meaningful way in their messaging. We need to be talking about substantial topics that affect all people with disabilities, especially people whose disability identity intersects with other minority identities – issues including employment, affordable and accessible housing, Social Security, mental health care, the incarceration of people with disabilities, subminimum wage… as you can tell, there are so many crucial issues! There is so much at stake for people with disabilities this election, and so while this video is meant to hold people accountable, it is also intended to propel conversations and encourage both candidates and voters with and without disabilities to recognize the importance of disability issues. It’s time to ask the questions and have the conversations about disability that really matter.

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Institutionalized as a Teen with Jensen Caraballo

Jensen Caraballo shares his story of being institutionalized in a nursing home as a teen. Jensen spent over five years living in an institution, and he wasn’t the only one. According to research, more than 200,000 non-elderly people with disabilities in the U.S. reside in nursing homes. Join the fight for freedom of people with disabilities, and support the Independent Living Movement.

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Accessing Employment in Japan with Mizuki Hsu

Mizuki Hsu enjoyed the freedoms of accessibility while she attended college in the United States. Upon returning to Japan, she encountered barriers when applying for work including a quota system that actually excludes people with disabilities, required disability disclosure and inaccessible buildings.

Watch the video now and check out Mizuki’s Moon Rider 7 Project – A Place to Know More About Ability.

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A Mother’s Day message from Emily and Ellen Ladau

Emily and Ellen Ladau share their mother-daughter story in this new Rooted in Rights “Storytellers” video. Both Emily and Ellen have physical disabilities and use wheelchairs. Ellen shares her worries about becoming a parent, and the bias and cruelty she has experienced. They both acknowledge the “bumps” along the way. However, as Emily states, “no one with a disability should ever be made to feel guilty . . . for having children.”

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A Little job advice from Bill & Jen with Cuquis Robledo

When Dr. Jennifer Arnold was a young hospital volunteer, she told visitors that she was planning to go to medical school. They responded, “Oh, why would you go to medical school? Don’t you juggle or play the piano or do some type of entertainment?”

Little People are too often “pigeonholed” into certain occupations solely based off of their size and stature. Cuquis Robledo sat down with Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold of TLC’s The Little Couple to discuss barriers and discrimination Little People face when seeking jobs.