Jerry Smith.

On September 13, the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) presented the John F. Kennedy, Jr. Award for Direct Support Workforce Advocacy & Leadership to Jerry Smith, ICI’s marketing and business development manager, who has directed dozens of films about community living for people with disabilities. In a statement coinciding with the organization’s annual conference, NADSP President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Macbeth evoked the Kennedy family’s legacy of supporting disability issues through informed public policies and strategies that strengthen the role of direct support workers.

“We name this prestigious award after our founder, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and bestow it upon those who have dedicated their careers to upholding this noble vision,” Macbeth said.

Smith’s documentary and educational media projects have explored media bias in mainstream coverage of disability issues, created awareness about autism for diverse communities, chronicled DSPs’ critical contributions to people with disabilities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and told countless other stories that have led to greater inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities.