of Jessica Cox
RIGHT FOOTED is about disability activist Jessica Cox, a thirty-one year old woman who was born without arms as a result of a rare birth defect. Despite the mental and physical challenges her disfigurement presented, see Jessica earn a college degree, two martial arts black belts, drive a car and, unbelievably, learn to pilot a plane — using her feet. Jessica’s unprecedented achievement lands her in the Guinness Book of World Records and launches her on career as a public speaker about disability, and as a mentor to disabled children and their families. But over the course of the film she continues to transform — and emerges as a disability advocate on the world stage, traveling to Ethiopia and the Philippines to promote disability rights, and lobbying Senators in Washington, D.C. on behalf of a major international disability treaty, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, a piece of legislation that directly benefited Jessica when she was growing up, the CRPD represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to extend civil rights to the disabled globally. As a leader in disability rights, the United States’ endorsement of the CRPD is vital. Yet as Jessica learns when she advocates for the treaty in the halls of the Senate, its passage is far from assured. Jessica fears its failure would provide an excuse to developing nations to keep in place societal prejudice and the marginalization of the disabled.
In countries that have yet to adopt or have just adopted the CRPD, Jessica and RIGHT FOOTED can have a profound impact. Nobel Prize-winning NGO Handicap International, who sponsored Jessica’s humanitarian trips abroad, hopes to use RIGHT FOOTED as a tool to promote disability rights and to help get the CRPD disability treaty adopted in non-signatory nations. The CRPD represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow disability rights worldwide, so there is some urgency with respect to completing the film in support of this effort.
RIGHT FOOTED is an important film for a number of other reasons. We believe Jessica Cox’s story can impact anyone who is struggling with adversity. The film obviously speaks to the one out of every five Americans who has a permanent or temporary form of disability. Despite real strides in America’s classrooms in terms of accessibility, prejudice, bullying and marginalization of the handicapped are still a reality. At the same time, Jessica’s struggle to overcome feelings of alienation and self-loathing is something many able-bodied people, particularly teenage girls, can identify with. We envision RIGHT FOOTED as an activist film that promotes the idea that disability does not mean inability, while simultaneously advocating for social acceptance of all those who are “different.”
RIGHT FOOTED chronicles Jessica’s amazing story of overcoming adversity and her ongoing work to change the lives of other people – disabled and “normal”. Her message is not just about disability, it’s about the importance of being different. That’s a belief she continues to share, group by group, family by family, child by child, and with your help she will reach many, many more people. Jessica’s goal with this film is to touch and inspire anyone who feels different, and create enormous change. This documentary is the incredible story of a woman who would not let even the most severe physical limitations stop her. It’s a universal film that will touch and inspire anyone who feels different for any reason. It is our hope to share Jessica’s story in schools, and on television and via the Internet, all over the world.