Together with Disability Advocates and Getty Images, Verizon Showcases Inaugural Disability Collection Photos

D.C. event

By Margaux Joffe, Accessibility & Inclusion, Verizon Media

People with disabilities make up about 20 percent of the population, but are featured in less than 2 percent of images we see in media. Verizon, the National Disability Leadership Alliance, and Getty Images partnered to change that with The Disability Collection, a growing collection of stock images that break stereotypes and authentically portray people with disabilities in everyday life.

For the first time The Disability Collection's inaugural images--now totaling over 350 with hundreds more in curation--were unveiled and are being showcased at the Verizon Technology and Policy Center in Washington, D.C. A celebratory event marked the occasion and brought together leading disability advocates, photographers and media professionals for a pop-up gallery experience, networking and discussion on the importance of disability representation in the media.

Disability Collection Celebration
Disability leaders, Verizon and Getty Image team members in front of the Disability Collection Gallery wall at the Verizon Technology and Policy Center in D.C. (photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)


The event featured many prominent members of the disability community including Helena Berger, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, Howard Rosemblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf, Julia Bascom, President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living, James Weisman, President and CEO of United Spinal, Lawrence Carter-Long, Comms Director for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund and disability justice advocate Lydia X. Z. Brown.

The Disability Collection Celebration - Keri Gray from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) speaks about one of her favorite images from The Disability Collection. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Keri Gray from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) speaks about one of her favorite images from The Disability Collection. Also pictured: Lawrence Carter-Long from the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund and Claire Stanley from American Council of the Blind. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Disability Collection is the first partnership between disability leaders and major media companies to change representation of disability in the media. We are empowering our industry to get real about disability representation with stock photos that can be licensed and used by anyone in the world. The Disability Collection portrays the spectrum of everyday experiences of people living with disabilities - relationships, workplace, recreation, travel and transportation. The Collection aims to show the diversity of disability with a focus on traditionally underrepresented groups.

Two friends smiling together in a car in the parking lot. The young man driving is an amputee. (Kali9/Getty Images)

The project was recently recognized by The Shorty Social Good Awards, which honors leading cause-marketing campaigns and social good initiatives. The Disability Collection won "Best in B2B Partnership" and received a Silver Award for "Best in Diversity & Inclusion." We hope this partnership inspires greater action in our industry, and that one day authentic portrayals of disability across advertising, film and TV will be the norm rather than the exception.

Join us in creating greater inclusion in our industry. Here's how:

  • Hire more people with disabilities. Ensure people with disabilities are part of the creative process in front of and behind the camera. Disabledwriters.com is one resource for hiring journalists and writers for your next project.
  • Design with accessibility in mind; it benefits everyone. For example, caption your videos and ensure your website and campaign materials are accessible.
  • Include disability representation in your next marketing campaign or editorial project. Get started by using images from The Disability Collection.

Learn more at thedisabilitycollection.com.

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