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Downers Grove Teen With Cerebral Palsy Launches Campaign To Change Way Disabilities Are Represented

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(CBS) — A Downers Grove teenager has launched a one-woman online campaign to change the way people with disabilities are represented by the television, film and the fashion industry.

Dayna Dobias calls her effort “Project Media Equality.” Her YouTube video opens with the 18-year-old Downers Grove North graduate walking up a driveway, using her walker.

She says she loves TV and film and fashion and she’s not happy with how people with disabilities are represented, if at all.

“Having cerebral palsy myself,” she says, “I can see that not many people with disabilities are accurately portrayed in film and television and other media productions and that really bothers me.”

She says that when they are portrayed they’re either sorry for themselves or heroes who have overcome adversity. Or they might be played by an able-bodied actor, which she likens to a having a white actor playing someone of a different race.

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dana dobias Downers Grove Teen With Cerebral Palsy Launches Campaign To Change Way Disabilities Are Represented
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People with disabilities, she says, are people like everyone else and their disabilities should not define them, saying, “cerebral palsy is not who I am, it’s just something I have.”

She adds, “people with disabilities, we don’t just focus on, oh, I have a condition, my life sucks. No. We act like everyone else and I wish the media would portray us like that.”

It’s not just TV and films, she says, but fashion too. It would be revolutionary, she says, to see a model on a runway with a walker.

“How inspiring and how beautiful would that be,” she says. “Think about how many people would be touched by that.”

She’s just one girl with a dream, she says, that she believes can change the world.

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