New York Circus Receives Leading Disability Employer Award – Caribbean Life

New York-based Omnium Circus has been named a 2022 Leading Disability Employer by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). The award was presented at the annual NOD Forum on September 29 in Washington, D.C.

This award was given in recognition of the National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), celebrated annually in October. “We are beyond thrilled and honored to be recognized for this prestigious NOD award which recognizes our commitment to people of all abilities,” said Lisa B. Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of Omnium Circus.

“The true ally in action is to employ people with disabilities with meaningful work. As a disabled employee of Omnium Circus, it has been life changing to be part of a team that truly values ​​my experience as a that disabled as an asset to their mission,” said Marie Dagenais-Lewis, social media manager at Omnium Circus and operations manager at Diversability.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and Anna Gichan on stage. Maike Schulz

According to Lewis, the process for hiring people with disabilities at Omnium is different depending on the role they fill, despite limited opportunities in the past.

“Every time we put on a show, we make sure we have a balance between diversity and capacity. For our staff, our lighting designer, we met at Gallaudet. The office team, we advertise and work through organizations such as JobPath NY, Visions and others that provide job training for people with various disabilities. They start with us as interns and so far we’ve hired into that group for staff,” Lewis said.

Additionally, Lewis said Omnium has reached out to other circus schools and encouraged them to accept more students with disabilities, and now there is work for them.

Rik Daniels on stage.
Rik Daniels on stage. Maike Schultz

Currently, the New York-based Omnium performers are the African-American King Charles Troupe, African-American ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson, and disabled dancers Anna Gichan and Rik Daniels.

Advocacy work done at Omnium includes workshops and programs delivered at schools and camps specifically for people with disabilities.

“Last summer we added Camp Smile for the blind and neurodiverse population, Camp Jabberwocky and several adult programs. This summer we will be adding Camp Pa Qua Tuck, as well as many schools. These programs are designed to have fun and build confidence,” Lewis continued.

To support Omnium Circus and its action, you can follow the company on all its social media platforms and make a donation. You can find this information, and more, at https://omniumcircus.org/.