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Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion

Published: Wednesday October 6, 2021


Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion

TEDx South Lake Tahoe 2021

Sacramento, California – Alycia Anderson is announcing the release of her TEDx South Lake Tahoe 2021 talk, which was delivered at her alma mater Lake Tahoe Community College on May 15, 2021. Her talk, Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion, is a powerful and inspiring exploration of the often innocent but ultimately damaging effects of ableism.

With heart and humor, Anderson shows how ableism — the social prejudice or discrimination that favors one with a perceived “ability” over someone with a “disability” — is undermining our efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive society. She has taken the stage in locations across the country to deliver her message and is now dedicating her life path to creating awareness and a more empowering perspective in the overall Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) discussion.

Disabled people make up the nation’s largest minority group. According to the CDC, over 61 million Americans — equating to one in four adults — have some type of disability. Anderson points to this staggering statistic and the sobering reality that any one of us can become disabled at any moment.

Photo: @DanWallisch

Despite the fact that disability is so universal, ableism is everywhere. It exists in a glance at the supermarket, a passing comment during a job interview, in the way that people with a disability are portrayed in TV shows and movies, and in the silent prejudices of our hearts. Any instance where the lives of people with disabilities are seen as inferior or somehow “less than” any other life, is where ableism rears its head.  Ableism is so ingrained in our society that it is often overlooked and goes unnoticed, but without recognizing ableism and its effects, we will never fully understand what inclusion, accessibility and equity really mean.

“We have to be willing to push away what we’ve been taught by our past…and start believing in the new possibility of a tomorrow for everyone.”

In her TEDx talk, Alycia Anderson takes the stage in her wheelchair and speaks about the damaging effects of ableism through her powerful story of learning to love and celebrate her own disability. With examples from her childhood and adult life, she explains why seeing the beauty and capability in every human being — in other words, “disabling ableism” — is the only way to move toward a more diverse and inclusive world.

Alycia was born with sacral agenesis in 1975, when the disability rights movement in America was just gaining traction. Two years earlier, Congress had passed the first legislation to address equal access for people with disabilities, laying out the foundation that paved the way for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act fifteen years later.

But even though the door was opening for millions of people with disabilities, Alycia’s parents understood that their daughter would still face tremendous obstacles and hardships growing up. They made it their mission to fight for a world where she would have the same opportunities as everyone around her, including her able-bodied identical twin sister. From an early age, Anderson’s parents ingrained in her a simple, powerful message: “You can, you should, and you will.”

In May 2021, one of Alycia’s longtime dreams came true when she was invited to speak at TEDx in South Lake Tahoe. Her talk, “Disabling Ableism: The Modern Pathway to Inclusion,” is a love letter to herself, others with disabilities, and society at large, and it brings light to the empowerment of having a disability. Anderson’s TEDx talk is also a call to action to examine — and dismantle — the ways that ableist thinking exists in our day-to-day lives.

“We can’t hide our differences. We need to embrace them, honor them, experience them, believe in them, discuss them, share them, and include them as life’s beautiful treasures.”

Now, after a long corporate career as Vice President of Sales, Alycia is embracing her path and pursuing speaking full-time as both a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Motivational Speaker and a Corporate Inclusion Coach and Mentor. In doing so, she hopes to share her story, inspire others to achieve their fullest potential, and further conversations about the real bottom-line benefits inherent in a diverse and inclusive society.

You can watch her TEDx talk on YouTube. You can also book her for your next event at

The Alycia Anderson Company, LLC
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