Regardless of having a disability or not, everyone’s had a moment in their life when they’ve been judged, underestimated or looked down upon.
The sting is immediate but the wound can last for years. The three As in our name capture this feeling and share the exasperating impact Whaaat?! moments create for people with disabilities. But, the As also do more than express an emotion. They capture our campaign’s three key missions:

Awareness
We are focused on raising awareness in the general community about how to respect people with disabilities and avoid creating a Whaaat?! moment. By shining a light on both overt and subtle discrimination through personal stories rather than preachy advice, we hope to show everyone’s role in eliminating Whaaat?! moments from our culture.

Action
Together, we will unite people with disabilities in sharing their own Whaaat?! moments through a unified social media platform. Joining the voices and passions of people with disabilities, their family and friends, and the general community, we will create a new view of how to respect our differences — and celebrate our similiarities.

Advance
Through increased awareness and action, our movement will create real change for the disabled community and the United States as a whole. If people with disabilities are able to live their lives and be seen for the people they are — rather than their disabilities — they fulfill their true potential for themselves, for their loved ones and for society. Everyone wins.

Ultimately, through our campaign, we want to create a world where people with disabilities:

Develop a Community
Find a new way to connect with others and the world around them.

Build Bonds with Other People within the Disability Community
Realize they are not alone in how they feel or in their experiences.

Share Stories
Feel inspired to be able to share their stories and have a voice.

Break the Status Quo
Live independent and fulfilling lives.

Build Pathways Towards Success
Can move beyond having their disability define who they are and what they can do.

Meet the Creative Team Behind the Campaign

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John O‘Neill

Creative Director, Graphic Design

The development of The Awareness Campaign arrives from my own personal experiences as a person with a disability. I simply wanted to develop a platform where people with disabilities can work toward better equality.“

  • Founder, The Awareness Campaign
  • Founder, Thinkhaus
  • Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth
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Renee Passal

Narrator

Discrimination is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility. I’m hoping that by being part of the campaign, I can help change the perspective of others, who may have the wrong idea about disabilities.“

  • Anchor/Reporter at WDIO-TV
  • House of Hearts Charity Bonspiel Committee
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Deanna Lorianni

Verbal Brand, Content Strategy,
Plain Language

Everybody deserves an equal chance to be the best person they can be. I believe The Awareness Campaign is an important, essential step to making this a reality for people with disabilities.“

  • Co-Founder, Zuula Consulting
  • Co-Founder, WordCraft RVA
  • Co-Chair, 2015 ClearMark Awards
  • Board Member, The Podium Foundation
  • Richmond Business Council Cabinet Member, Greater Richmond Chamber
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Meghan Codd Walker

Verbal Brand, Content Strategy,
Plain Language

By using technology to connect people through their shared humanity, The Awareness Campaign has created a powerful way to reverse discrimination against people with disabilities. I couldn’t be prouder to be involved.“

  • Co-Founder, Zuula Consulting
  • Co-Founder, WordCraft RVA
  • Co-Chair, 2015 ClearMark Awards
  • Board Member, Center for Plain Language
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David Cowardin

Video Editing and Production, Photojournalism,
Mental Health Activist

As a producer and photojournalist, I am always humbled to be involved with work that makes a difference. The Awareness Campaign is going to break social barriers and change the way we interact with the disability community.“

  • Co-owner, Lola Visuals
  • Managing Editor, Duluth Outdoors
  • Editor, Call Me Mental
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Joe Olivieri

Video Editing and Production, Photojournalism,
Mental Health Activist

We were humbled to get the call to collaborate with John, Renee, Deanna and Meghan on this vital project. As a business in its youth, Lola Visuals has a passion for the projects that truly MATTER.”

  • Co-owner, Lola Visuals
  • Editor, Call Me Mental