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Disability Awareness Month: October

Learn more about events and programming at UC San Diego for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, recognized each October.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in the United States and the 2020 theme is "Increasing Access and Opportunity." Each year, UC San Diego hosts events to create awareness and recognize the value of our diverse workforce.

2020 Annual Disability Awareness Month Event Co-Sponsors

Accommodations: To request American Sign Language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations necessary to enable your participation, contact Disability Counseling and Consulting (DCC) at (858) 534-6744 or via email at at least two weeks in advance of the event.

2020 Disability Awareness Month Events

Virtual Art Exhibit
(October 1-31)

The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) invites artists with disabilities to share their artwork with the San Diego community. Artwork of any medium (painting, sculpture, photography, etc.) will be accepted for virtual display on the OSD website. Artists may exhibit their work anonymously and may post their work for sale.

Learn more about the Virtual Art Exhibit »

Crip Camp Panel Discussion

As part of our programming for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Campus Human Resources was proud to present a panel discussion of the documentary Crip Camp on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. 

Winner of the Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award for U.S. Documentary, Crip Camp is the story of Camp Jened, a groundbreaking summer camp for teens with disabilities, which helped to build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality. If you haven’t seen Crip Camp, you can view the trailer here and find the full movie on Netflix. (Please note: the trailer and film contain mild adult language and themes.)

Moderated by Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Becky Petitt, the discussion featured:

  • Crip Camp’s co-directors and co-producers Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht, a 1978 graduate of UC San Diego and former Jened camper
  • Judy Heumann, internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community and former Camp Jened counselor
  • Jimmy Cong, staff member in the Office for Students with Disabilities and a 2018 graduate of UC San Diego
  • Syreeta Nolan, current UC San Diego undergraduate student, UCSA Underrepresented Student Officer and co-chair of the UCSA/UCGPC Disability Ad Hoc Committee

View the transcript of the discussion »


Panelist Bios

Jim LeBrecht

Jim LeBrecht has over 35 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, author and disability rights activist. Jim began his career in theater, working as the resident sound designer at the Berkeley Repertory Theater for 10 years. His film credits include The Island President, The Waiting Room, The Kill Team and Audry and Daisy. A complete list of his film credits (over 145) can be viewed at IMDB . Jim co-authored Sound and Music for the Theater: the art and technique of design . Now in its 4th edition, the book is used as a textbook all over the world.

Jim’s work as an activist began in high school and continued at UC, San Diego, where he helped found the Disabled Students Union. Jim is currently a board member of the Disability Education and Defense Fund, which works for the rights of the disabled through education, legislation, and litigation.

Nicole Newnham

Nicole Newnham is an Emmy-winning documentary producer and director, Sundance Film Festival alumnus and five-time Emmy-nominee. She has recently produced two virtual reality films with the Australian artist / director Lynette Wallworth: the breakthrough VR work Collisions, which won the 2017 Emmy for Outstanding New Approaches to Documentary, and Awavena, featured this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos and at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Previously she co-directed The Revolutionary Optimists, winner of the Sundance Hilton Sustainability Award, Nicole also instigated, co-produced and directed the acclaimed documentary The Rape of Europa, about the Nazi war on European culture, which was nominated for a WGA award and shortlisted for the Academy Award. With Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Brian Lanker, she produced They Drew Fire, about the Combat Artists of WWII, and co-wrote the companion book, distributed by Harper Collins.

A 1997 graduate of the Stanford Documentary Film Program, Nicole lives in Oakland with her husband Tom, and two sons, Finn and Blaine.

Judith Heumann

Judith (Judy) Heumann is a lifelong advocate for the rights of disabled people. She contracted polio in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York and began to use a wheelchair for her mobility. She was denied the right to attend school because she was considered a "fire hazard" at the age of five. Her parents played a strong role in fighting for her rights as a child, but Judy soon determined that she, working in collaboration with other disabled people, had to play an advocacy role due to continuous discrimination.

She is now an internationally recognized leader in the disability rights community. Her memoir, authored with Kristen Joiner, of Being Heumann “Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist,” published by Beacon Press and audio recorded by Ali Stroker, who is the first wheelchair actor to perform on Broadway. Judy was featured on the Trevor Noah show.

From 1993 to 2001, Judy served in the Clinton Administration as the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the Department of Education. During his presidency, President Obama appointed Judy as the first Special Advisor for International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State, where she served from 2010-2017.

Judy graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY in 1969 and received her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. She has received numerous awards including being the first recipient of the Henry B. Betts Award in recognition of efforts to significantly improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and the Max Starkloff Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council on Independent Living. She has been awarded numerous honorary doctorates.

Jimmy Cong

Jimmy Cong is currently working for the Office for Students with Disabilities at UC San Diego as a Disability Specialist. His responsibilities include meeting with students to provide disability management counseling, keeping the OSD website up to date, and testing product accessibility around the campus. Legally blind since birth, Jimmy has been pushing for inclusive design in all industry standard products. He graduated from UC San Diego in 2018 with a B.A. in Music and Visual Arts (Media). When he is not working at the OSD, Jimmy can be found DJing weddings, events around the university, and semi-formals as DJCJ before the pandemic. In the future, Jimmy is planning to apply to graduate school to further his research in creating accessible music software for all musicians.

Syreeta Nolan

Syreeta Nolan is a senior majoring in Psychology with a specialization in Human Health. She is honored to be a part of Warren College and to amplify the voices of students with disabilities. Syreeta is a disabled student advocate for Housing – Dining – Hospitality (HDH) and developer of two award-winning programs to build support and community.

She serves as Underrepresented Student Advisor for Associated Student (AS) Government as well as Underrepresented Student Officer for the University of California Student Association (UCSA). She is also the co-founder of Disabled in Higher Education on Twitter which is planning for the whole month of October to be Disabled Empowerment in Higher Education Month on Twitter. Follow this movement @DisInHigherEd and her @nolan-syreeta. This Fall, Syreeta be applying for her Ph.D. in Health Policy.

To expand your perspective, visit Syreeta’s blog at:

For more information, contact DisAbility Counseling and Consulting: (858) 534-6744 or
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Notice: The information on this page summarizes provisions of university policies and/or collective bargaining agreements. Refer to the Personnel Policies for Staff Members (PPSM) and local implementing procedures or applicable collective bargaining agreement for full text of referenced information.