Reimagine has been hosting candlelight vigils since March 2020, the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to break down taboos and hold space for all that we've lost. Tonight's program features a conversation with Lachi and Jim LeBrecht, artists and activists mentored by Judy Heumann (1947-2023), “the mother” of the Disability Rights Movement. Annie Lanzillotto -- a Reimagine community collaborator, poet, and performer -- leads the honor ceremony.
Lachi is a globally touring performer, charting recording artist, award winning social entrepreneur, and host of the PBS American Masters series Renegades. Born legally blind, Lachi uses her platform in music, storytelling and fashion to amplify identity pride and Disability Culture to the mainstream narrative. Through her organization RAMPD, Lachi brought accessibility to the 64th and 65th GRAMMYs, and has walked everywhere from the GRAMMYs red carpet, Barbie Movie premiere and New York Fashion Week with her luxury Glam Canes. Named a “new champion in advocacy” by Billboard and “foot soldier for Disability Pride'' by Forbes, her cultural activism has landed her spots on national ads and TEDx stages, discussions with the White House and U.N., and appearances on the BBC, Good Morning America, Essence and New York Times. She was in conversation with late, great activist Judy Heumann at the August 2022 Reimagine Vigil.
Jim LeBrecht co-directed and co-produced, with Nicole Newnham, the 2021 Oscar nominated documentary, Crip Camp – recipient of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for feature length documentary, the 2021 Independent Spirit award for Best Feature Documentary and a 2021 Peabody Award. He has over 40 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, filmmaker, and disability rights activist. LeBrecht is a co-founder of FWD-Doc and the 1in4 Coalition, two organizations that support people with disabilities in the entertainment business. He has been a character consultant for Pixar Animation Studios for two of their films. Jim is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He is also a member of the Disability Futures Fellowship, an initiative of the Ford Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Annie Lanzillotto is an author, poet, songwriter and performance-artist who's been called "volcanic" and "riveting" in the press. Her stage work raises NYC iconic street objects to mythical status, from the Spaldeen, to the coin-op parking meter, to corner mailboxes. She just returned from Ireland where she performed a world premiere of her solo show Spaldeen Ascensions: A Bronx Aria at The Sean O'Casey Theatre Festival in Dublin. Her books include: Whaddyacall the Wind? (Bordighera Press); Hard Candy: Caregiving, Mourning and Stage Light (Guernica World Editions), L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir (SUNY Albany Press). Her albums include Never Argue with a Jackass. She podcasts as Annie's Story Cave. She's received grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Dancing In the Streets, Dixon Place, Franklin Furnace, The Puffin Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, Trickle Up, Creatives Rebuild New York, and has writing residencies at Hedgebrook and Santa Fe Arts Institute.
Reimagine is a nonprofit organization catalyzing a uniquely powerful community–people of different backgrounds, ages, races, and faiths (and no faith) coming together in the hopes of healing ourselves and the world. We specifically support each other in facing adversity, loss, and mortality and – at our own pace – actively channeling life's biggest challenges into meaningful action and growth.
Reimagine gratefully acknowledges ProBono ASL for interpretation services.
Image description: Smiling portraits of Lachi (a Black woman wearing a red dress, a bun of hair surrounded by red and white flowers and long blonde braids) and Jim (a white man with salt and pepper curly hair, mustache and beard, and blue open-collared shirt) are alongside a cluster of lit tea candles.