Inclusive Emergency Management 101: Integrating the Disability Community in Disaster Planning and Response

Lesson 1: The History of Disability Rights in the United States

Lives Worth Living: An Immersive Introduction to Disability History and Culture


We strongly recommend that course participants view Lives Worth Living (2011), a short documentary produced by Alison Gilkey and directed by Eric Neudel, of Storyline Motion Pictures. The film, which was first presented as an episode of PBS’s long-running series, Independent Lens, introduces viewers to empowered individuals with disabilities who make their own decisions regarding the services and care they need to live independently in their communities. It also dispels any notion that individuals with disabilities must be cared for as opposed to planned for.


People with disabilities are the largest minority in the United States. Throughout American history, they occupied a sub-class of millions without access to everyday things most citizens take for granted, such as schools, housing, public buildings, and public transportation. “Lives Worth Living” traces the development of consciousness of these pioneers, who realized that in order to change the world they needed to work together. Through demonstrations and inside legislative battles, the disability rights community secured equal civil rights for all people with disabilities. Thanks to their efforts, tens of millions of lives have been affected in positive ways, through fair and equal access to structures, programs and services, and effective communications.


Contact Storyline Motion Pictures for information on individual ordering and group licensing.


Watch the original trailer: