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At Liberty: Actress Ali Stroker on Disability Pride and Representation.


At Liberty is a weekly podcast from the ACLU that explores the biggest civil rights and civil liberties issues of the day. A production of ACLU, Inc.

In this episode, At Liberty brings you a conversation celebrating Disability Pride Month, which is July. This conversation with actress and singer Ali Stroker was recorded last year, but we think it has the same resonance today. We talk to Ali about disability identity and representation in the media. We hope you enjoy the conversation. Roll the tape!

Across the top 100 movies of 2019 only 2.3% of all speaking characters had a disability. What’s more, the rare times we do see a character with a disability, they aren’t played by someone with a disability. In fact, one study found that in the top 10 TV shows for 2018 only 12% of disabled characters were played by disabled actors. In contrast, around 133 million Americans live with visible or invisible disabilities — that’s 40% of the public.

To put it plainly, there’s A LOT of room for improvement. Enter Ali Stroker, a singer and actress phenom who became both the first person using a wheelchair to perform on Broadway and the first person using a wheelchair to win a Tony award. Ali, in many ways, has put disability on the media map, landing roles in film, television, theater and even writing a children’s book. She joins us on At Liberty to discuss the importance of the representation and celebration of disability in the entertainment industry and beyond.

Listen to the podcast episode here at: Ali Stroker.