Lawrence Carter-Long Interview
"There's a new crop of people that are saying, wait a minute, I'm not ashamed of anything. I don't need to distance myself from anything. In fact, I am a disabled person first." In this interview, Lawrence Carter-Long discusses his views on the evolution from people-first to identity-first language, and changes in the way disability is depicted in the media. "With more disabled people being creative behind-the-scenes," using new, more direct digital outlets, he has noticed that the stories we are seeing have more complexity, depth and authenticity. "The gatekeepers no longer have the same types of power."
Public Affairs Specialist for the National Council on Disability at the time he was interviewed in 2015, Lawrence grew up in Indianapolis and Terre Haute. He was program coordinator for the Disabilities Network of New York City when he undertook the Gimp Project, a collaboration with dance choreographer Heidi Latsky. As a young person, Lawrence says modern dance was never an option for him. "It wouldn't even enter my consciousness because of my physicality and because of having cerebral palsy." However, he recalls a theater teacher at North Vigo High School in Terre Haute, Indiana who was pivotal in encouraging him "to do things that I wouldn't have imagined possible."
Lawrence also discusses disability and film, talking about his experience curating and co-hosting the Turner Classic Movies festival, The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film. The 2012 series reached 87 million people. "It was a fantastic opportunity to look back as a way to position ourselves and to say, how do we want to move forward." Earlier, Lawrence laid the groundwork for The Projected Image with a successful, experimental festival in New York City, "Dis This." He was interviewed at the Indiana Governor's Council for People with Disabilities conference in Indianapolis.
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