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Easterseals Southern California Launches Provocative Campaign – Changing the Way You See Disability

ESSC Launches Thought-Provoking Ad Campaign

Challenging the Public to ‘Change the Way You See Disability


With a Goal of Inclusion and Creating Social Change,  Campaign Encourages Everyone, ‘Celebrate. Don’t Separate.’

 LOS ANGELES For Immediate Release Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) – which assists more than 10,000 people with disabilities in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties – has launched a provocative new ad campaign – featuring southern California residents who receive services from Easterseals – aimed at Changing the Way You See Disability.

Commented Mark Whitley, president & CEO of ESSC, “When we unite as one, we can create social change and break down barriers. Every day, people make generalizations about people with disabilities—and many may not even realize they’re doing it. We’re launching a movement that helps people look beyond what they see at first glance to build a more inclusive world.”

With a goal of inclusion, the multi-faceted campaign asks people to reconsider how they view people with disabilities with such challenges as: Celebrate. Don’t Separate; Dialogue. Not Doubt; Encourage. Don’t Exclude; Include. Don’t Isolate; Be Supportive. Not Sorry; and Spread Awareness. Not Assumptions.

With the first phase launched in January, the campaign – which will continue to roll out over the course of 2018 –encompasses print, outdoor and internet ads, as well as a grassroots social media component with a “Make the Promise” call to action to support the campaign under the hashtag #CelebrateDontSeparate.

Featured in the campaign are six southern California residents who receive various living, work and educational services through ESSC, including: Jaden Hicks, 4, Ontario, preschooler, pianist and kickball player; Lora Glassman, 29, Yorba Linda, writer and film buff; Mauricio McKenzie, 64, Long Beach, gardener, handyman basketball fan and marathon runner; Maureen Roberto, 42, Norwalk, high school graduate, avid reader, community volunteer; Gerardo De La Cerda, 29, San Fernando, soccer coach, engaged to Valeria (also featured), whom he met at Easterseals; and Valeria Hernandez, 22, North Hills, dancer, looking forward to married life with Gerardo.

“I want people to see me for me, not just in the chair,” says Lora. “I am so much more than that. We’re your neighbors, who are living, working and playing in your community and, like you, have a lot more to offer than you can see. My hope is that this ad campaign will make people think and take a moment to get to know me – or anyone with a disability of any type – before making assumptions about what they ‘know.’ I’m the same as everybody else.”

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The campaign was conceptualized and developed under the pro-bono direction of the Los Angeles office of global advertising agency E/LA. Said E/LA CEO and ESSC Board Member Andre Filip, “This is more than an ad campaign, it is a shift in awareness about how we all view disability. This is about equality and inclusion. We are proud to be involved in a global movement that creates change and effects the lives of millions of people.”

About Easterseals Southern California

For nearly 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals and families with developmental disabilities or other special needs. The services provided by Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) – in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties – make profound and positive differences in people’s lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. With 2,300 employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, each year ESSC assists more than 10,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services, veteran employment support; independent living options; and more. At Easterseals, 87% of our income is spent on services. Join us in changing the way the world defines and views disabilities.

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