No Limits. SSU Observes Disability Awareness Month in April

markwellman.pngThe Sonoma State University campus is observing Disability Awareness Month in April, which is the campus' fifth annual event. The campus and surrounding community are invited to participate in the activities offered throughout the month.

Disability is included in the "Big 8" of Diversity, which includes culture, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, and class, but disability is sometimes overlooked as a diversity category.

"People with disabilities cross all racial, gender, educational, and socioeconomic lines; and disability is the nation's largest minority and one that any one of us could join at any time," says Brent Boyer, Director, Disability Services for Students.

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2008, over 51 million Americans were classified as disabled, representing 18 percent of the population.

A wide-range of activities promoting how "Disability Contributes to a World of Diversity" include:

Murderball film screening -7 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, Student Union multi-purpose room
Featuring fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, and larger-than-life personalities, Murderball, winner of the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is a film about tough, highly competitive rugby players - quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot, or rogue bacteria, these men were forced to live life sitting down.

In their own version of the full-contact sport, they smash the hell out of each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs. From the gyms of middle America to the Olympic arena in Athens, Greece, Murderball tells the story of a group of world-class athletes unlike any ever shown on screen. In addition to smashing chairs, it will smash every stereotype you ever had about the disabled. It is a film about family, revenge, honor, sex (yes, they can) and the triumph of love over loss.

Tracy Garza ~"Intersectionality, Disability, and LGBTQ Communities," noon - 12:50 p.m., Thursday, April 4, Stevenson 1002
As one of the founding Board Members, Tracy Garza has been actively involved with Transgender Law Center. An ardent advocate for LGBT and disability issues, Tracy has also served as volunteer at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, GLAAD, the San Francisco LGBT Center, and the Autistic Self- Advocacy Network, and is currently a member of the S.F. Human Rights Commission's LGBT Advisory Committee. Women's and Gender Studies Department.

Lynn Manning "Weights -One Blind Man's Journey," 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4, Ives 101
Lynn Manning is a man in motion. He's an award winning poet, playwright, actor, and former World Champion of blind judo. He has had upwards of a dozen plays produced. His autobiographical, solo play, Weights, received three NAACP Theater awards in 2001, including Best actor for Lynn. He has since performed Weights from London to Off Broadway, and from Edinburgh to The Adelaide Fringe. Weights traces Manning's life from his impoverished childhood in South-Central L.A. to the present through poetry, music and narrative. This powerful play penetrates the inner spirit within to address adversity in times of extreme hardship.

"No Limits" with Mark Wellman -7 p.m., Tuesday, April 9, Cooperage
Mark Wellman is a nationally acclaimed author, filmmaker and motivational speaker. Despite being paralyzed in a mountain climbing accident, Wellman has inspired millions to meet their problems head-on and reach for their full potential. A two-time Paralympian and former Yosemite Park Ranger, Mark's "No Limits" philosophy encourages individuals to adventure into new horizons; to go beyond the seeming unreachable.

Contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) for updates at

ABOVE: Mark Wellman brings his own kind of inspiration to Disability Awareness Month at SSU on April 9.

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