Strengthening Disability Advocacy conference 2012
Disability advocacy and the legal system: You be the judge!

Monday 26 & Tuesday 27 March 2012 @ Melbourne Park Function Centre

Johnny Crescendo

Photo of Johnny Crescendo, Disability Civil Rights singer/song Writer and activist

Disability Civil Rights singer/song Writer and activist

Born in the United Kingdom, now living in the USA Johnny Crescendo is a disability civil rights singer and songwriter and activist. His songs “Choices and Rights” and. “Tear Down the Walls” have become anthems for the disability movement in the UK and the United States.

In the early ‘90s Johnny led the UK movement to victories removing patronizing representations of disabled people in the media and  coine the phrase Disability Pride.

He went on to found the Direct Action Network (DAN), which uses public demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience to increase the awareness and liberation of disabled people. DAN was instrumental in getting the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 passed and for getting commitments from the government to make all transport accessible.

Johnny joined ADAPT in the US in the early ‘90s and is still campaigning for disabled Americans to have the right to stay in the community and not be forced into institutions.

.Johnny has worked as a senior policy adviser on disability for Birmingham City Council and is currently a consultant, trainer and mentor on inclusive education, advocacy and disability history for a number of organisations in the US.

He is married to Cassie James Holdsworth a famous disability rights activist and has two daughters, Jasia and Danielle.


Tear down the walls

Tuesday 27th March, 2012: 4:15am - 5:15am

Johnny talks about the Independent living movement from its birth to present day and beyond. He talks about core philosophy, how it has developed and its future. He talks about ADAPT in the US and the UK’s Direct Action Network’s struggle for IL services and their relative success in “Freeing our people” from institutions and compares British and US policies and practice. He talks about his concerns for the future and the principle of consumer control.

Wheelchair Waltz

Monday 26th March, 2012: 12:30am - 1:15am

In the early 90’s Johnny wrote a ground breaking article (our allies within), on what it takes to be an ally to disabled people and the disabled people’s movement. Johnny revisits this subject exploring subjects like consumer control, structuring for power and most importantly how non disabled professionals can truly be allies without taking control. He explores, through real life examples, successes and failure of well meaning people who have had commitment to what it means to be an ally.