Honoring Our Bodies: A Future For All Abilities



How do we create a world where we all care for each other? A world where fewer people have to fight for their rights to exist, while more people acknowledge and accommodate for the abilities of all? Host Lucy Gellman, editor of the New Haven Arts Council’s Arts Paper will be joined by cultural producer, performer, and inclusion expert Claudia Alick; poet and writer Cyree Jarelle Johnson; and producer, author and filmmaker Crystal Emery to underscore our need for better social awareness around issues of ableism.

This event will be ASL interpreted. Captions will be available on Facebook Live.

Claudia Alick

Cultural Producer, Performer, and Inclusion Expert

Claudia Alick is a cultural producer, performer, and inclusion expert. Named by American Theater Magazine as one of 25 theater artists who will shape American Theater in the next 25 years, Alick has served as the founding Artistic Director of Smokin' Word Productions, is a NY Neofuturist alum, published playwright, recipient of NYC Fresh Fruit directing award, TedXFargo speaker, the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists, featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and former Community Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. At OSF for ten years she produced events such as “The Every 28 Hours Plays”, "The Green Show", The Daedalus Project, OSF Open Mics as well as producing/directing audio-plays with OSF such as the Grammy nominated "Hamlet". Her personal projects include her podcast “Hold On…Wait for it”, vlog “This Week in Cultural Appropriation”, StreetPoetry, and one-person Show “Fill in the Blank” exploring disability and the medical industry. Claudia served on Oregon Arts Leaders in Inclusion, the steering committee of The Ghostlight Project, the steering committee for Black Theater Commons.  She is currently managing content with The Crew Revolution black female leadership, serves as Co-president of the board of Network of Ensemble Theater, collaborated on Unsettling Dramaturgy (crip and indigenous international digital colloquium) and is on the advisory councils for the National Disability Theater, Howlround, and NW Arts Streaming Hub.  Claudia Alick serves as founding executive producer of the transmedia social justice company CALLING UP whose projects include Producing in Pandemic, The Every 28 Hours Plays, We Charge Genocide TV, Co-artistic direction of The FURY Factory Festival, and consulting and advising funders and companies around the country.

Crystal Emery

Producer, Director, Author, and Activist

Crystal R. Emery, p.g.a. is a dynamic Producer, Director, Author, and Activist known for producing narratives aimed at creating a more equitable society. She is the Founder and CEO of URU The Right To Be, Inc., a nonprofit content production company that addresses issues at the intersection of the humanities, arts, and sciences. Emery is a member of the Producers Guild of America and New York Women in Film and Television, and was selected as an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. Emery believes that perseverance, faith, and trusting in a power greater than oneself comprise the road to success. She continues to shape a successful, fulfilling personal and professional life while triumphing over two chronic diseases as a quadriplegic. She has been hailed as “inspiring” by the Los Angeles Times and as a “leader in science and technology” in the Good Housekeeping feature “50 over 50: Women Who Are Changing the World.” Her body of work covers a broad range of topics, from diversity, inclusion, and equity to children’s literature, sociopolitical issues, and STEM. In 2015, Emery conceived, designed, and launched Changing the Face of STEM, an innovative national educational and workforce development initiative. She has been a keynote speaker for distinguished institutions like the National Security Agency, National Institute of Health, National Organization on Disabilities, and RespectAbility. She has appeared on TedX Beacon Street, where she spoke on the intersection of race, gender, and disability. In 2016, her film “Black Women in Medicine” cleared all Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requirements necessary to qualify for an Academy Award nomination in the “Best Documentary” category. “Black Women in Medicine” went on to international screenings in Ethiopia and Germany in 2018 as part of the American Film Showcase, the premier American film diplomacy program in the world. Her contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Leadership in Journalism Award, the BronzeLens Film Festival Spirit Award, the Trailblazer Award from NANBPWC and the United Nations as part of the International Year for People of African Descent, and the Yale University Seton Elm-Ivy Award.

Lucy Gellman

Host, Editor of the New Haven Arts Council’s Arts Paper

Lucy (she/her/hers) is a lapsed art historian who loves wordplay almost as much as community building. Prior to her time at The Arts Paper she was a reporter at the New Haven Independent and station manager at WNHH Community Radio, where she still produces and hosts Kitchen Sync, a show about food and New Haven.

(bio and headshot taken from Arts Paper | Arts Council of Greater New Haven (newhavenarts.org))

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson

Poet and Writer

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson (he/him) is a poet and writer from Piscataway, NJ. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Root, Poetry Magazine, Black Futures, love WITH accountability, and Disability Visibility among other publications. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University with support from Davis Putter Scholarship Fund. SLINGSHOT, his first collection of poetry, won a 2020 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry, and is available now from Nightboat Books. Development of the work was supported by Astraea Foundation’s Global Arts Fund, Culture/Strike Climate Change and Environmental Justice Fellowship, and the Rewire News Disabled Writers Fellowship. He is a recipient of a 2020 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from Poetry Foundation, and is the inaugural Brooklyn Public Library Poet-In-Residence. Find him on Twitter and Instagram at @cyreejarelle

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