Through programming and special events, the partners look to build a more inclusive community by inspiring and motivating people to embrace different abilities and include all people in every aspect of community life.
"MOVE TO INCLUDE will help people better understand what it means to be someone who lives with an intellectual or other disability," said Ann Costello, Director of the Golisano Foundation, which will provide $280,000 to WXXI for the initiative over the next two years. The Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States devoted exclusively to supporting programs for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
"We want to build a community that leads the way in valuing abilities and fostering inclusion," said Costello. "We want to move beyond discussion and into action, encouraging people and showing people how they can put their good intentions to work, and lead the charge to leave no one out in our community. By working with WXXI we look forward to reaching out to people through TV, radio, films and online, building the momentum for this movement throughout the year."
The initiative kicks off Monday, April 14th at 7 p.m. with a free screening of Ken Burns' new documentary The Address at the Little Theatre. The film tells the story of Greenwood School, where each year the students are encouraged to memorize, practice, and recite the Gettysburg Address. The students, boys ages 11-17, all face a range of complex learning differences that make their personal, academic, and social progress challenging. The Address will also air on WXXI-TV Tuesday, April 15 at 9 p.m.
"WXXI and the Golisano Foundation hope these films, television programs and news stories will motivate individuals to take action and to include more people with disabilities in the workplace, in schools, neighborhoods and in all aspects of society," said Norm Silverstein, WXXI President. "People with disabilities have many extraordinary talents and, given the chance, can make important contributions to the quality of life in our community," he added.
WXXI's programming about "the abilities of people with disabilities" began more than a decade ago, through a partnership with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies called "Dialogue On Disability." The project Dialogue on Disability was a week-long initiative designed to encourage community dialogue about the lives and abilities of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. It will continue to take place in January each year as part of the year-long MOVE TO INCLUDE initiative.
In addition to primetime programming, WXXI-TV will present children's programs that spotlight kids with disabilities. April programming includes an episode of Arthur, airing Sunday, April 27 at 9 a.m., which deals with a newly made friend who has Asperger's Syndrome. A complete list of programs can be found at WXXI.org/include. The web page is updated monthly with upcoming programs.