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ACCESSABILITY/VISABILITY: Breaking Down the Barriers for People with Disabilities in Media: Biographies


Whoopi Goldberg is one of a very elite group of artists who have won the Grammy, the Academy Award, the Golden Globe, the Emmy and a Tony. She is also a prolific producer and is well-known around the world for her many humanitarian endeavors. With the Blake Street Hawkeyes theatre troupe, she created the characters which became “The Spook Show” and evolved into her hit Broadway show, Grammy Award-winning album and the HBO special that helped launch her career.


Marlee Matlin’s first film Children of a Lesser God (1986) won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. A multiple Golden Globe and Emmy nominee, she has starred in numerous shows including “Seinfeld,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “The West Wing,” “The L Word,” “Family Guy,” and “Switched at Birth.” She has authored three books for children and her New York Times best-selling autobiography, “I’ll Scream Later,” and most recently developed an app for teaching American Sign Language called “Marlee Signs.”


Eryn Brown is a partner at Management 360, one of the entertainment industry’s leading management and production companies. For over 20 years, Brown has helped build the careers of critically and commercially acclaimed writers, directors and actors in content creation.  She passionately champions artists around the world who are committed to social change through their art. 

Danny Woodburn, best known for his work on Watchmen (2009) and “Seinfeld,” is a 30-year veteran of the entertainment industry, an award-winning actor with over 30 film and 150 television credits. He is a disability rights advocate who has contributed to changing the perceptions of people with disability through his very public efforts in the film and TV industries to alter the landscape of opportunity, authenticity in casting and employment of performers with disability. He serves as a co vice-chair of SAG-AFTRA PWD Committee.

Maysoon Zayid is an actress, comedian, writer, and disability advocate. She is the co-founder and co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. As a comedian, Maysoon has toured extensively at home and abroad. She appeared alongside Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008) and is a recurring character on “General Hospital.” She had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014 and is the author of the bestselling memoir, “Find Another Dream.”


Jenni Gold is a renowned writer, director, and producer. She is the co-founder of Gold Pictures Inc., a development and production entity established in 2001. She produced and directed the star-studded feature documentary CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion (2018). Gold wrote and directed the feature films Ready, Willing, and Able (1999) and Aaah Roach!, currently in post. She also co-produced the upcoming feature Tiger and is an advisory board member for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

James LeBrecht has over 40 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, author, disability rights activist and filmmaker. LeBrecht’s credits include notable films such as The Blood of Yingzhou District, which won the Academy Award for short documentary in 2006, Minding The Gap (2018) and Crip Camp (2020), which he co-directed, wrote and produced with Nicole Newnham. Lebrecht is currently a board member at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.

Kaitlyn Yang is the founder and visual effects supervisor of Alpha Studios. Yang has more than 50 credits to her name, including “Robot Chicken,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Four Weddings & A Funeral.” Her  insights on diversity and leadership have been published in Variety, Emmy Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient and a member of the Visual Effects Society and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Zachary “Zack” Gottsagen is the star of the 2019 indie hit, The Peanut Butter Falcon. He has been an enthusiastic performer his whole life and has won many awards, including the Rising Star Award from the Palm Springs Film Festival, the Newcomer Award from the Hollywood Critics Association and the Breakthrough Entertainer Award from the Associated Press. At the 2020 Academy Awards, he became the first person with Down syndrome to present an Oscar.

Jorge Gutierrez is the creator (with muse Sandra Equihua) of "El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera," which brought latin themes to television. He then co-wrote and directed The Book of Life (2014), which extended this effort to the big screen. He is currently working as the creator, writer and director on the upcoming Netflix series “Maya and the Three.”

Millicent Simmonds burst onto the scene as the star of Todd Haynes’s film Wonderstruck (2017), opposite Julianne Moore, and in the Paramount horror blockbuster A Quiet Place (2018). She will star in the forthcoming A Quiet Place Part II opposite Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt.

ASL Interpreters

Amanda Grazian is President and founder of AG Interpreting, a company focused on providing interpreting services and professional development for interpreters. A lifetime of experience as a Deaf-parented heritage signer and the immersion into the Deaf community has contributed to her success over the last 15 years. She was selected as the ASL interpreter to Ms. Millicent Simmonds on the set of A Quiet Place Part II.

Jack Jason has been the sign language interpreter and producing partner with Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin for over three decades. He is familiar to audiences for his appearances in The Player (1992), and "The West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote," as well as on the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards, and the Tony Awards.