Throughout the week, Evan Dawson will host several conversations with guests who provide expert and personal insights about policies, programs, and community issues related to disabilities.
Connections with Evan Dawson airs weekdays from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on WXXI News.
Dialogue on Disability episodes include:
On Monday, January 22 at 1 p.m., Evan previews the docuseries Inside Our Autistic Minds with local young people. In the two-part series that will air on WXXI-TV, host Chris Packham – who has autism – helps other people with autism demonstrate how their minds work. In the program, Packham says, “I think that the wider world still doesn’t understand what it means to be autistic. And this is a problem for those of us who already feel excluded, different, like we don’t fit it….I felt completely misunderstood; like no one understood what was going on inside my head.” Connections’ guests include artists, musicians, and creators who help us see the world – and their art – through their eyes.
On Wednesday, January 24 at 1 p.m., Courtney Davis is our guest. When Courtney became ill with a rare condition, she learned almost overnight what the disability community has to contend with. One of the challenges was simply convincing her property manager to remove snow from sidewalks and walkways. During this conversation, she talks about the sometimes overlooked daily obstacles, and how to advocate for change.
Thursday, January 25 at 1 p.m. – Recently on Connections, Evan talked with a local teenager who said, “A lot of people base me off my epilepsy, like…he’s that one epileptic kid. That’s what I’m known as at my school. I just want to be known as a person, not that one epileptic kid.” Award-winning multimedia journalist Emyle Watkins has a passion for helping to break down the kinds of stigma and stereotypes experienced by that local teen. Watkins identifies as disabled and neurodivergent. She covers the disability community for WBFO in Buffalo and leads training sessions for communities across the country. She joins Connections for a conversation about language, so-called “inspiration porn,” and how to help all people become more inclusive communicators. Click here to listen to the episode with the local teenager Geoffrey Batterby, who talks about living with epilepsy.
These episodes of Connections are presented as part of Dialogue on Disability, a partnership between WXXI and Al Sigl Community of Agencies – in conjunction with the Herman and Margaret Schwartz Community Series. Dialogue on Disability is supported by the Fred L. Emerson Foundation with additional support from The Golisano Foundation. The weeklong initiative runs January 22 through January 28, 2024.
WXXI and Al Sigl have been hosting Dialogue on Disability since 2005. In 2014, with the support of businessman and philanthropist Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation, Move to Include™ was formed. This initiative enables WXXI to present and develop programming that promotes inclusion year round.
Photo: Evan Dawson • Provided by WXXI