The Disability Media Initiative’s mission is to evolve policy, attitudes, and employment opportunities for the disability community. This will be achieved through the traditions of storytelling blended with the technologies of today.

Over 600 hours of Dialogue and 50 hours
of Disability Archival Footage have been
recorded with this camera

In 1999, the World Bank asked 60,000 people living on less than a dollar a day to identify the biggest hurdle to their advancement. It wasn't food, shelter or health care. It was access to a voice. By empowering people to tell their stories, “It’s Our Story” gives a voice to the voiceless, and to the people who fight for our freedom.

The DMI archives will connect people with information through pod-casts, web-casts, museum exhibits and television shows. Engagement, education, and enterprise are merged to promote an informed attitude through our stories. “It’s Our Story” enables the power of one for the benefit all.

Dialogue Summary

Ten perspectives of the disability
experience recorded :

Family and Friends
Medical and Social Models
Employment and Investment
Education and Engagement
Advocacy and Political Strategies
Transistions and Aging
Arts and Cultural
Access and Transportation
Intimacy and Sex
Genetic and Acquired

The disability community has known for decades: discriminatory attitudes, myths, and misconception are the real disability. For the price of a low budget Hollywood film or a Super Bowl commercial, a new way of knowing how disability affects people will be built.

The DMI archives profile people who live with disability everyday. That's where the power of these stories lies. These vignettes tell a journey of social isolation to the dream of full inclusion. They represent dedicated visions that created policy, attitudes, and freedom for seven decades.

Over 600 hours of Dialogue and 50 hours of
Archival Footage are contained in this 117 DVD
set ready to be uploaded to the online world

“It’s Our Story” is the story of disability, the ways things were, what it took to get here, and what it will take to make it better. These conversations reflect the issues of their lives and our lives too, decade by decade. The DMI archives are a critical resource that contain personal histories of conflicts and resolutions that yield diverse insights of what it was like, is like, and should be like to live in America with a disability.

“It’s Our Story” is manifesting the tools of storytelling for the online generation. It is a hub of information and experiences. People who have had time to understand life with a disability will be able to share their stories, while youth will be able to interpret those stories into a modern perspective.

The DMI archives will be easily accessible to everyone through the technologies of encoding, transciption, and engineering. Encoding allows the database to be searchable by key words and phrases, making it easy to find what you’re looking for. Transcription provides the option of subtitling, empowering the deaf to hear. Engineering puts guests in the editor’s seat, enabling the mute to speak about our history and future.

Over 600 hours of Dialogue and 50 hours
of Disability Archival Footage have been
uploaded to a 16.5 TB Hard Drive System

Together we can forge a dynamic digital tool that will tell the story of many in the disability community, through the power of one.

Disability easily touches a billion people. Our stories have the power of change because they are stories of change. From deinstitutionalization to self-determination, from no access to universal access, and from isolation to inclusion our needs and deeds to be free are relevant lessons. This raw material contains the foundation and the power to train a new generation of media makers, which in turn will have the power to change their world and ours with it. The DMI archives represent the hopes of millions with the ability to engage the minds of billions.

“It’s Our Story” is about getting that click of a mouse, clicked. It uses high tech as much as old-fashioned community engagement strategies to convey our messages. Our stories and views need to be shared because so many people are living lives of desperation. People with disabilities have the highest unemployment rate, the highest poverty rate, and the greatest social isolation barriers to break. Our experiences provide a unique perspective of being marginalized and succeeding in spite of obstacles.

The time has come to put the history, culture, and issues of disability together for the monitors of computers, the screens of televisions, and the projectors of cinemas. These acts will initiate a dialogue that America needs to have to fully mature as a culture.
Chances are, if you live long enough you will experience disability. It will touch you personally, through a loved one, a dear friend, or colleague. Disability will knock on your door and the DMI archives will be here with some answers.

Our "slice of life" antidotes provide an important building block for a renewed life. The words of real life role models are here to assist you. These are people who've been where you are, had the thoughts you are thinking, and have done the things that needed to be done. This alone is cause enough to fund this project to make these stories available through a click of a mouse. Having online access to this vital information while homebound, hospitalized or isolated in a rural community is achievable. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do!

A new state of “being” disabled is
under development that propels our
lessons of the past into the future.