As a voting member of the
As a member of the WGA, the Writers Guild of America, specifically the Writers with Disabilities Committee, former national chair of the Performers with Disabilities Committee in AFTRA, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and a former member of the SAG, Screen Actors Guild Performers with Disabilities Committee, and it is important to me to constantly remind the movers and shakers in the entertainment industry about the importance of including disabled characters on television shows and in the movies.
When I was first injured, there were no people like me on television. No quadriplegics and barely any paraplegics, no one who looked like they were in the same boat I was. Occasionally, there would be a "sickness of the week" TV Movie about a quadriplegic, but generally they were pathetic characters who were victims. Yes, there are quadriplegics who are victims of crimes or whatever, but the dialogue wasn't realistic and the roles were not true to life, they were written by able-bodied people based on stereotypes.
To tell the truth, there were no quadriplegics on television until I appeared on Highway to Heaven. Not that I'm looking for a pat on the back, I was just happy to work and just happened to be the first. I first got on television in 1984, 26 years ago. I was sure that by now there would be plenty of us on television. I was positive that roles played by disabled performers or at least about disabled characters would be prevalent.
Oh well, I guess I will have to attend a lot more