Examining Concussions In Youth Sports

A recent article by Time Magazine cited that children who have been diagnosed with depression are more likely to suffer a concussion while playing youth sports. This correlation flips a common belief that athletes of all ages are more likely to experience symptoms of depression during and after suffering the effects of a concussion.

The article is just the latest in a string of new discoveries regarding brain injuries in American sports. Researchers from across the nation are looking at different angles in order to keep American athletes safer in the future. Consider that Philly.com reported that between 1.1 million and 1.9 million children and teens are treated for concussions caused by organized sports.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story as one of the links between depression and concussions is the fact that students who have suffered from depression are more in tune with their bodies. They are more likely to document the injury and speak up about an issue.

Not reporting a concussion can come from a fear of missing a game, school or after work job. It can also come from simply not understanding what is happening to a person’s body.  Concussion awareness is just as important as the equipment being used in the prevention and proper medical care after a concussion.

The Concussion Legacy Foundation has determined that at least 1 in 5 sports-related concussions are the result of a head impact with the playing field surface. The turf is the common culprit in all sports.

It’s why GreenPlay is helping athletes at all levels become safer through synthetic turfgrass technology. Turfgrass is the term used to describe engineered natural turf on playing fields. Pristine turfgrass is proven to be the benchmark for safety and performance. Compared to synthetic turf, turfgrass has shown to produce exceptional results under impact tests to access head injuries.

Owner of GreenPlay, Domenic Carapella, explains the impact pristine Turfgrass is making for athletes across the country saying, “Turfgrass helps lessen the harsh blows to the head and body that often happen during sports activities at all levels. When it comes to what we can control, the playing surface should be just as important as the equipment being worn.”

According to Greenplay Organics:

  • It’s important to discuss the issue of concussions in American youth sports in order to help drive change for the children of our country.
  • Pristine Turfgrass is the benchmark for the safest, high-performance playing surface.
  • Turfgrass is firm to run on, provides ideal traction and is resilient under bodily and head impacts.

Jaira Burns Releases “Numb”

Pop artist Jaira Burns (Upscale Music Group/Interscope Records) has just released a brand new song for fans, titled “Numb.” Produced by Thomas Slinger and co-written by Jaira, the mid-tempo track features the singer’s distinct vocals atop a driving pop arrangement. You can listen to “Numb” HERE.

“I love this song for its contrast: The production is so energetic and gives off a party vibe, but the lyrics take on a slightly darker perspective. Sometimes you drink or smoke to temporarily escape reality. This song is for the times when people get faded; not for the reason of having fun, but to feel ‘NUMB’,” says Jaira.

“Numb” marks Jaira’s first single since her contribution to Riot Games’ virtual group K/DA. The quartet debuted their single “POP/STaRS” live during the League of Legends ceremony in Korea last November. The song quickly entered into the top 10 of Billboard’s Pop Digital Song Sales chart and has since amassed a whopping 142M views on Vevo. The project was a fitting end to Jaira’s impressive 2018 where she was named as part of Paper Magazine’s “100 Women Revolutionizing Pop.” With plans to showcase her songwriting abilities, the Pennsylvania native plans to follow up her debut EP, Burn Slow, with new music in 2019.

Will Society Grow Angry Enough to Oust Trump? Watch the Stock Market

By Alan Hall

The political left is busy gathering rationales for impeaching President Trump. The political right is busy crying foul. Both sides may be missing an important indicator of his fate: the stock market.

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to impeach a president twice in history. In both cases, the stock market was rising, and in both cases, the Senate voted for acquittal.

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Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the timing of President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment. On March 2, 1868, the House of Representatives formally submitted eleven articles of impeachment against Johnson. Yet the Senate acquitted Johnson on May 26, 1868, during a stock market rally that added to the 250% increase since October 1857.

 

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Figure 2

Figure 2 shows that a substantial rally in the Dow preceded President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the House and subsequent acquittal in the Senate. Some of the most dramatic events in the Monica Lewinsky scandal occurred during the largest slide in the Dow during Clinton’s presidency. And despite a $70-million prosecution of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, the Senate ultimately acquitted the president as the Dow, Dow/gold and Dow/PPI rose to important peaks.

 

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Figure 3

Figure 3 shows the Dow Jones Industrial Average surrounding President Richard Nixon’s near-impeachment and resignation from office. The Watergate break-in occurred toward the end of a strong 67% rally in the Dow from May 1970-January 1973. That rally preceded Nixon’s landslide re-election. But as the Dow fell, the Watergate investigation ramped up, and Nixon’s fortunes changed. With almost certain impeachment looming, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974.

Why are stocks and presidents’ fates tied so closely together? Socionomic theory posits that society’s mood influences both stock prices and the public’s perceptions of its leaders. Positive social mood makes society feel optimistic, buy stocks and credit leaders for their good feelings. Negative social mood makes society feel pessimistic, sell stocks and blame leaders for their bad feelings.

These tendencies show up in the results of U.S. impeachments and near-impeachments, and they’re also evident in presidential re-election outcomes. My colleagues at the Socionomics Institute demonstrated in a 2012 paper that stock market declines have tended to precede defeats of incumbent U.S. presidents, while stock market advances have tended to precede re-elections of incumbents. In fact, they found that the stock market proved to be a better re-election indicator than inflation, unemployment and GDP growth combined.

 

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Figure 4

So, what does this mean for President Trump? We considered this question in the June 2017 issue of The Socionomist. Figure 4 is a chart from that issue, updated to the present. It depicts the trend of social mood as reflected by the Dow. We left the gray arrows showing our 2017 analysis, and we added red arrows to suggest the possibilities going forward. In July 2017, Congressman Brad Sherman formally introduced an article of impeachment against Trump in the House of Representatives. Yet the impeachment process fizzled as the stock market advanced during 2017. Following the stock market peak on January 26, 2018, however, the tone of the critiques shifted, and even some on the political right became more disapproving of the president.

Since the October 3 stock market peak, criticism of the president has grown more raucous, and the Mueller investigation has implicated more of the president’s inner circle in illegal activities. The Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterms. On November 23, A New York judge allowed a lawsuit against the Trump Foundation to move ahead. A November 26 Gallup poll revealed Trump’s disapproval rating had hit an all-time high. By December 17, the Mueller investigation had issued more than 100 criminal counts and charged 34 people, 10 of whom have been found guilty. That same day, Wired published its list of “All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations” and said, “it’s increasingly clear that, as 2018 winds down, Donald Trump faces a legal assault unlike anything previously seen by any president.”

On December 18, the Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve, accused by the New York attorney general “of engaging in ‘a shocking pattern of illegality’ that included unlawfully coordinating with Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.” On December 20, Secretary of Defense James Mattis resigned, followed closely by diplomat Brett McGurk. Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney has also resigned. Christmas week, the National Christmas Tree stayed dark due to the government shutdown. Several news organizations ran stories Christmas Eve with versions of The Atlantic’s headline, “President Trump’s Nightmare Before Christmas,” as the stock market plunged. Of course, staunch supporters of the president remain, though it’s worth noting that Nixon had an approval rating among Republicans of approximately 50 percent when he resigned. Yet the number of critics of Trump is rising. According to a December 19 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 41% of Americans favor impeachment hearings.

What the Mueller investigation will ultimately reveal remains a big question. But social mood may play a bigger role in Trump’s fate than the facts. For that, watch the stock market closely, our best reflection of the trend of social mood.

BET Network Announces Reality Digital Series “Wig Out”

BET Networks announces premiere of its original digital series “WIG OUT” starring celebrity hairstylist Cliff Vmir. The eight-episode series follows Cliff and his crew in Atlanta, the “Hair Capital,” as he’s hungrier than ever to continue to take his “Hair Empire” to the next level. From re-launching his famous “hair tours,” to opening a brick and mortar home base for Cliff in Atlanta to expanding his brand, Cliff has gained a new perspective and is feeling the pressure to make some needed changes in his life. All the while, Cliff is secretly planning his entrance into the rap game and all is at stake. As Cliff struggles with personal issues along the way, he also realizes he’s made some amazing connections that will help him rise to the top of hair and rap royalty, but how easy will it be for him to break in? Tune in to the premiere episode of “WIG OUT” Sunday, January 13 across all BET Digital platforms.

 

Tammy Rivera, Marlo Hampton, Lil Mo, Shekinah and more to make cameo appearance during the series. Watch and post the “WIG OUT” first-look trailer HERE.

 

“WIG OUT” is Executive Produced by Kristin Shae Pisarcik for Minted Media, and Matthew C. Mills and Chris Vivion for Spacestation. Marni Rothman Ellis Directed, also for Spacestation. Producers include Cliff “Vmir” Watson, Eboyné Jackson, and Monique Jackson.

11 Facts on CES 2019

11 Facts On The Backstage of CES 2019 Innovation Awards
 
The final list of the CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honorees has been revealed. And “Competition has been especially tough this year”, says one jury member. Here are ten surprising facts that can be deduced from the public data released by CES this year – via Pixminds: 
 
[1] Over 6,000 companies applied – less than 300 made it to the honoree bracket. 
 
[2] As opposed to last year, the CES jury decided to give each product no more than one innovation Award. 
 
[3] 270 honorees out of 300 were awarded one Innovation Award only. Some point out that they are one-shot startup stories that will not make it to the next CES edition, but their award can also highlight their star product promoting a wider range.
 
[4] Companies had to apply for one of the 29 product categories, some tougher than others: the “Computer Peripherals” category awarded 18 products, while only nine made it to the “Computer Accessories” honorees. 
 
[5] Industry leaders got stronger than ever this year, each of them releasing up to 17 award-winning products (see the industry leaderboard at the end of this note). 
 
[6] The industry leaderboard surprisingly misses big, ageless manufacturers (HP) as well as all of the software giants attempting to jump into the hardware field such as Google and Amazon. 
 
[7] Instead, the industry leaderboard is ruled by the usual South Korean and American giants such as Samsung (1st) and Motorola (5th), but Germany stays strong with their champion Bosch (4th).
 
[8] France jumped in the leaderboard above Germany and US with Pixminds (3rd). 
 
[9] Even though their electronics industries are amongst the strongest in the world, China, Japan and Israel did not make it to the leaderboard. 
 
[10] While every other company in the leaderboard has 10,000+ employees, surprisingly Pixminds only got 50. This is one more signal to the industry that innovation tends to come from small companies more than ever.

 
*** [11] With 17 awards, Samsung is the CES 2019 World Champion. The silver medal goes to MSI (12 awards). Finally, the third place goes to Pixminds (France) with 6 innovation awards.
 
ABOUT PIXMINDS
Pixminds is French group working in multimedia, specialized in human – machine interactions, and all their business applications. At Pixminds, we stand for innovation as we believe it is the seed of progress. The projects we develop are tightly linked to augmented reality and gaming. Because we come from gaming, we are convinced that comfort of use is essential for those who use daily digital tools such as computer peripherals, or gaming accessories. We work hard on improving the interface between the man and the machine. Through this point of view, innovation takes place both in the product (hardware and / or software) and in users’ behavior. Once one gets there, they need to step back from the hardware and understand what people truly need to make their day-to-day life a little more comfortable. 

SARAH MAPLE × “THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS”

SARAH MAPLE, “THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS” 

A Solo Exhibition Curated by Indira Cesarine

OPENING RECEPTION January 22 // 6pm-9pm 

EXHIBITION ON VIEW January 22 – February 3, 2019

THE UNTITLED SPACE 

45 Lispenard Street Unit 1W 

NYC 10013 

The Untitled Space gallery is pleased to present “Thoughts and Prayers” a solo exhibition of works by artist Sarah Maple, curated by gallery director Indira Cesarine, opening January 22, 2019, and on view through February 3, 2019. Sarah Maple is an award-winning visual artist known for her bold, brave, mischievous and occasionally controversial artworks that challenge notions of identity, religion and the status quo. Hailing from Britain, this will be the first solo exhibition of the artist in the United States. Much of Maple’s inspiration originates from being raised Muslim, with parents of mixed religious and cultural backgrounds. “Thoughts and Prayers” will feature many new works, as well as a selection of some of her most notable past works, exploring a wide variety of media including performance, painting, photography, sculpture, collage, installation, and video. Maple’s pro-feminist artwork provokes a dialogue with her sharp humor and satirical eye. She fearlessly addresses what it means to be a Muslim in the Western world. Her taboo-breaking artwork fights against censorship as she investigates themes of politics, violence, freedom, feminism, and the ironies of pop culture. She often employs self-portraiture as a vehicle for her narrative, or engages guerrilla-style performance as a means to convey her message. 

“Using her own image, and drawing on her experience as a Muslim woman, Sarah tackles society’s many taboos, elevating those previously oppressed, and giving voice to those long since silenced.”   i-D Vice 

“Maple has made a name for herself over the years for pushing the boundaries of femininity, and for publicly discussing the convergence of her dual-Muslim heritage with feminism. Rather than crumble, Maple has an impressive resolve in the face of cyber adversity: she tries to laugh instead of cry… Maple hopes to examine where freedom of speech ends and abuse begins.” – Dazed Digital

“Maple could well be the only artist to take on the Kardashians (with her ‘Keeping Up With The Kapulets’ show), stereotypes around Islam (with her ‘I Love Orgasms’ acrylic), and the taboos around menstruation (with her ‘Menstruate With Pride’ triptych). She has received a flurry of glowing reviews – and even more death threats.” – Good Trouble 

“I think we need to be challenged, we need to hear challenging, radical, provocative things, even if we don’t agree with them, as it’s those things that make us react and make us want to bring about change…” Sarah Maple for TEDx

Sarah Maple graduated with BA in Fine Art from Kingston University London in 2007 and in the same year won The Saatchi Gallery’s “4 New Sensations” award for emerging artists. Maple’s artwork, film, and performances have been exhibited internationally at galleries and institutions including Tate Britain, The Barbican, AIR Gallery, and The New Art Exchange, among many others. Maple’s work has been the subject of documentaries including for ARTE and VPRO. In 2015 she released her first book “You Could Have Done This,” a hardback of selected works. The same year she was awarded a Sky Academy Arts scholarship from Sky Arts, which included funding, mentoring and a Sky Arts documentary. In 2017 she gave a TEDx talk in Birmingham, UK on the importance of free speech, titled “The Freedom To Be Challenged.” 

Her work has been featured in numerous international publications, including Vogue, The Guardian, i-D Magazine, The Sunday Times UK, The Independent, People Magazine, Dazed, and the Huffington Post among many others. In 2018 she was invited to make a limited edition cover for Harper’s Bazaar’s art issue alongside artists including Yayoi Kusama, Barbara Kruger, and Linder Sterling. Her artwork is in collections including Soho House, The Hyman Collection and the Ned. Sarah lives and works in Sussex, England. 

ARTIST STATEMENT

“My work is largely motivated by my upbringing as well as my interest in activism and gender politics. Citing current affairs I create works that provoke the viewer through satirical, tongue-in-cheek commentary. My mother is a Muslim from Kenya, who married my British father in the 1970s. She raised me as a Muslim in the UK and sent my siblings and I to a Catholic school. Much of my work examines the duality of my multicultural upbringing and the conflict of identity among young Muslims living in the western world. I began to explore these themes after reflecting on Muslim identity in Britain post 9/11and7/7 and the impact of the Iraq war. Motivated by the current political climate and being from an immigrant background, these subjects are close to my heart as I question notions of identity, belonging, and “otherness” in my works.  

I see many parallels between the UK and the US, especially with Brexit and the Trump election. The gun debate is something especially intriguing to the British. The threat of terror is continually focused on and yet nothing is done about gun laws. When officials offer up “Thoughts And Prayers,” it appears hollow and insincere. I am interested in how a lack of action directly and/or indirectly inflicts suffering and potential violence on its citizens. 

Also inspired by feminism and gender politics, my work aims to challenge deep-seated ideas about what it means to be a woman. I am interested in the role shame plays in women’s lives – how we take up space in the world, our physical appearance, bodily functions and “blame culture.” I explore the ways we can change the visual narrative for women as a form of empowerment. The medium I choose is determined by the strongest way to deliver my message; hence it is constantly evolving across a wide variety of media. Self-portraiture, for example, offers the possibility of taking ownership of our image. When we photograph ourselves, we have complete control over how we want our selves, our gender, our femininity, and our sexuality to be perceived by others. Humor is also an important element in my work. I often use a “Trojan horse” to get my message across and sometimes I just like to point out the obvious as this can be the most direct way to highlight how ridiculous something is. I used to accept a lot at face value but when I discovered feminism it motivated me not only to question the role of women, but also the preconceived ideas relating to all things in society.” – Artist Sarah Maple 

ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE:

The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2014 by Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of “Women in Art” as well as special events aligned with our creative vision. 

Exhibition Contacts:

The Untitled Space info@untitled-space.com 

Website link: http://untitled-space.com/sarah-maple-thoughts-and-prayers/

The Untitled Space

PICTURE THIS

PICTURE THIS RELEASE “IF YOU WANNA BE LOVED” TODAY

FEATURED ON FORTHCOMING ALBUM MDRN LV ARRIVING FEBRUARY 15

LISTEN TO “IF YOU WANNA BE LOVED” HERE: https://PictureThis.lnk.to/IYWBLPR

PRE-ORDER MDRN LV HERE: https://picturethis.lnk.to/MDRNLVPR

Critically acclaimed Irish phenomenon Picture This release their third instant grat track “If You Wanna Be Loved” today from forthcoming album MDRN LV, co-produced by Jayson Dezuzio [Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors], arriving February 15,2019 via Republic Records. Listen to “If You Wanna Be Loved” HERE.  Pre-order MDRN LV HERE.

 

Picture This will embark on their first North American tour in support of MDRN LV, making stops across the country starting in Toronto, ON on April 22 and wrapping in Seattle, WA on May 18.  Full tour routing below, get tickets HERE.

 

The albums lead single “One Drink” continues to climb up the radio charts at both Alternative and Hot AC formats in the U.S.  Watch the official music video for “One Drink” HERE.  The band also recently released a second song featured on the upcoming album, “Everything or Nothing”, tune in to watch the official music video HERE. 

ABOUT PICTURE THIS

The biggest selling Irish act in both 2017 and 2018, and the nation’s hottest musical export in decades, Picture This arrived as a phenomenon with their self-titled 2017 full-length debut, Picture This. Certified triple-platinum in Ireland, it held the #1 spot Overall in the country for four weeks, while topping the Streaming Chart for seven weeks. Moreover, it remained in the Top 5 since release. Just over two years since their formation, they’ve impressively sold over 400K tickets, concluding 2017 with a sold-out UK and Ireland tour highlighted by gigs at O2 Shepherd’s Bush London, SSE Arena Belfast, and a two-night stand at 3Arena in Dublin. This summer marked their first stadium tour in Ireland, which capped off with a 35,000-person stadium show selling out over 3 months prior. During late 2018, they teamed up with super producer Jayson Dezuzio to record the 2019 follow-up, MDRN LV.

2019 North American Tour Dates:

April 22            Toronto, ON                The Velvet Underground

April 23            Montreal, QC              L’Astral

April 24            Cambridge, MA          The Sinclair

April 26            Pittsburgh, PA             The Club @ Stage AE

April 27            Washington, DC         Rock & Roll Hotel

April 30            New York, NY             Irving Plaza

May 1              Philadelphia, PA         The Foundry

May 3              Columbus, OH            The Basement

May 4              Nashville, TN              The Basement

May 5              Chicago, IL                  Lincoln Hall

May 7              St. Paul, MN               Amsterdam Bar & Hall

May 10            Denver, CO                 Larimer Lounge

May 11            Salt Lake City, UT      Kilby Court

May 14            Los Angeles, CA         Troubadour

May 15            San Francisco, CA     Slim’s

May 17            Portland, OR               Doug Fir Lounge

May 18            Seattle, WA                 Columbia City Theater

ABOUT REPUBLIC RECORDS

A division of Universal Music Group, the world’s leading music company, Republic Records is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists such as Ariana Grande, Black Sabbath, Florence + the Machine, Hailee Steinfeld, James Blake, James Bay, John Mellencamp, Julia Michaels, Kid Cudi, Liam Payne, Of Monsters and Men, Post Malone, Seth MacFarlane, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift and more. Founded by brothers and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman, it is also comprised of innovative business ventures, including American Recordings (The Avett Brothers), Boominati Worldwide (Metro Boomin), Brushfire (Jack Johnson), Casablanca Records (Tïesto), Cash Money (Drake, Jacquees, Nicki Minaj), Hollywood Records (Sofia Carson, Zendaya), Lava Records (Greta Van Fleet, Jessie J, Lorde), Monkeywrench (Pearl Jam), XO (The Weeknd, Belly, NAV), Young Money (Drake, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj), Roc Nation (Jaden Smith, Justine Skye, The Dream), among others. Republic also maintains a long-standing strategic alliance with country powerhouse Big Machine Records, and Universal Music Latin Entertainment.  In addition, Republic has expanded to release high-profile soundtracks for Universal Pictures (Fifty Shades of Grey, SING), Fox TV (Lee Daniels’ STAR, The Four), and NBC TV (The Voice), as well as other notable film and television franchise

Strick Release EP “See You When I Land”

After the release of “Slime Neighbors,” Young Thug‘s right hand man and artist, Strick returns with his latest latest EP, See You When I Land, available on all streaming platforms with appearances from Gunna, Young Thug, and Duke.

Exclusively premiering with Complex, Strick spoke about his work stating, “I wanted to create an experience that was just as creative and unique as my style of music and felt that giving the listener a visual trailer that embodied the conceptual theme of See You When I Land was important. I’m thankful my team and the directors believed in my vision and were able to highlight it on screen.” 

Strick is a promising new artist from North Carolina, who resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. With a professional background both in business and in the U.S. Air Force, The Young Stoner Life signee has set his eyes on the music industry. Building his career behind the scenes, he landed a placement on Kanye Westand Juicy J’s “Ballin‘,” and went on to work with artists such as Travis Scott, Jeremih, and Wiz Khalifa. In 2016, Strick earned his first platinum record “Coordinate” off Scott’s Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight album. In July 2017, Strick dropped his debut EP,Risk=Reward. In 2018, he released January’s Risk=Reward 2. Most notable was his smooth contributions on Young Thug’s 2018 Slime Languagecompilation, their collaboration “STS” was well-received and continued to build fans interests in the previously reserved musical curator.

Take a look at the video for “Slime Neighborhoods” and listen to Strick’s label debut EP, See You When I Land

A Voice for the Forgotten Minority

If foundations fall short on equality for people with disabilities, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi puts them on the spot.
By Alex Daniels

A microphone in Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi’s hands is a powerful weapon. At venues across the country, Mizrahi has used her strong, clear voice to ask foundation leaders variations of one simple question: Why aren’t people with disabilities included?

As large foundations have placed more muscle behind programs that promote equity in terms of race, wealth, gender identity, and sexual orientation, Mizrahi believes people with disabilities have been overlooked.

During question-and-answer sessions at major foundation gatherings, she is the first with her hand up, ready to put foundation leaders on the spot. Why isn’t a foundation’s website accessible to the blind? she’ll ask. Or why isn’t data on disabled voters included on a conference speaker’s chart of voting patterns among residents of rural areas, African-Americans, and young people?

The reason for the neglect, she says, is that disability groups have too often come to foundations looking for charity. That strategy is rooted in the idea that donors should take pity on people who are blind, have dwarfism, or are intellectually challenged, she says, rather than treating discrimination against them as a violation of their civil rights.

“The overall messages of the disability community caused us more harm than good,” she says. “The more they were repeated, the more harm was done.”

Through RespectAbility, an organization she co-founded five years ago, and through her own philanthropy, Mizrahi has pushed to eliminate stigmatization and to reduce barriers to employment for people with disabilities.

Sometimes her approach is direct, such as when she called Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, a “hypocrite” in an email for not including disabilities in the grant maker’s shift to focus entirely on equity. After that, and with the input of lots of others in addition to Mizrahi, Walker issued a mea culpa and announced that Ford would work to address inequalities based on disability throughout all of its programs. Mizrahi now calls Ford’s response the “gold standard.”

Donn Weinberg, executive vice president of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation and co-founder of RespectAbility, said Mizrahi is “fearless” in asking difficult questions of foundation honchos. When she’s able to get face-to-face with philanthropy executives at conferences, she seizes the opportunity to educate them about disability issues.

Private Consultations

Some nonprofit leaders grumble privately that Mizrahi sometimes claims credit for efforts that were already underway. And sometimes her questions come in the form of short lectures.

At a Philanthropy Roundtable conference in 2017, the group’s staff asked Weinberg, who also serves as Philanthropy Roundtable’s chairman, if he could persuade Mizrahi to tone down her rhetoric and get to the point. “She clearly wants people to hear a bit of commentary before the question,” he says. “She’s planting seeds of thought and bringing to people’s consciousness an issue they often don’t think about.”

But Mizrahi doesn’t see herself as a provocateur or a grandstander. She consults directly with nonprofit leaders to make sure their websites, grant applications, and program strategies benefit and are accessible to people with disabilities.

She’s created a set of guidelines and tools for organizations that want to gauge whether they are being inclusive. And she dispatches young professionals and students working as RespectAbility fellows to interview foundation employees about how they communicate with, employ, and benefit the disabled population.

“We try to call people aside and not call them out,” she insists, saying most of her work is done in private consultations with foundation leaders, not in the public spotlight. “I like to see myself as a partner, a facilitator, and a resource.”

Aaron Dorfman knows from experience.

Mizrahi said her annual-dues statement from Dorfman’s group, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, sold the organization as a social-justice champion — but something was missing.

“They were very proud to send me a 12-page, single-spaced memo on diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she says. “The word ‘disability’ wasn’t in it.”

The two met for coffee to discuss the matter. Afterward, as the committee was preparing to release a guide for foundations interested in social justice, Dorfman asked Mizrahi to analyze a draft to make sure it adequately covered disability.

Dorfman said he welcomed the challenge. By putting foundation leaders on the spot at conferences, Mizrahi is helping philanthropy see its shortcomings and grow.

“There’s a certain amount of discomfort when you get called out, even if you get called out rightfully,” he says. “This culture of politeness doesn’t serve marginalized communities well. It’s all right to make someone feel uncomfortable in pursuit of full inclusion.”

Diversity Includes Disabled People

Some foundations recognize they need help. A survey of 205 foundation chief executives conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy found that most leaders thought their organization was staffed by people with a diversity of backgrounds and served a diverse set of beneficiaries in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation. But over half said they fell short when it came to people with a disability.

The reason, according to Judy Belk, president of the California Wellness Foundation, is many people think the Americans With Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, cured injustices faced by disabled people.

The existence of handicapped parking places and curb cuts on street corners, Belk says, doesn’t mean all of the challenges have been addressed. Similarly, just because philanthropies have crafted strategies designed to ameliorate inequities doesn’t mean they’ve faithfully put them into practice.

For Belk, concentrating on disabilities could be a good way to achieve progress in some of the foundation’s existing programs, including efforts to improve oral health for low-income adults, prevent HIV/AIDS among women of color, and help women of color adjust to society after being incarcerated. All of the groups that stand to benefit from that work, Belk says, include a large proportion of people with disabilities.

To start, the California Wellness Foundation had RespectAbility audit its website. Mizrahi’s staff found that the grant maker’s web presence wasn’t an inviting place for everyone. Belk ordered a redo to make sure the site complied with content-accessibility guidelines.

“Foundations have diversity, equity, and inclusion statements up the wazoo,” she says. “They can show you a statement and say they’re committed. I’d like to push ourselves and hold ourselves accountable.”

Easy Improvements

Foundations have largely failed to incorporate disability into the programs they run and the data they collect, Mizrahi says. And she thinks nonprofits in general have fallen behind businesses and government agencies in accommodating people with disabilities. Though many organizations would like to make progress, they often fear it will cost a lot.

Many fixes aren’t expensive but require presence of mind. For instance, Mizrahi says, it’s free and easy to make Twitter and Facebook feeds accessible and put captions on YouTube videos. And avoiding meetings in places like church basements that aren’t accessible for people in wheelchairs requires the presence of mind to schedule gatherings elsewhere.

Mizrahi says she’d rather educate than scold, and help people understand that people with disabilities are productive team members.

“I don’t view every organization equally,” she said. “The Americans With Disabilities Act treats organizations differently based on size and budget, and so do I. If it’s a small, fragile organization with nobody on staff, I have very few expectations they’ll all of a sudden have a personal-care assistant for someone who is a quadriplegic and on oxygen in order to participate in their program.”

Nonprofits lack clear guidelines on the steps they should take to make their organizations more accessible, according to Michael Thatcher, president of Charity Navigator. Over the past year, he has been in discussions with Mizrahi about how to encourage charities to get started.

Master Problem-Solvers

The first step, Mizrahi says, is to help organizations understand what kind of contributions people with disabilities can make.

At a Capitol Hill conference that RespectAbility held in July, Vincenzo Piscopo, the director of community and stakeholder relations for the Coca-Cola Company, told the 200 attendees that people with disabilities are often accustomed to overcoming obstacles and are master problem- solvers. It’s incumbent on people with disabilities in the work force to serve as ambassadors, to help employers understand what they bring to the table.

“When companies have people with disabilities, they’re providing value to their company,” he told the gathered crowd. “They’re not doing charity.”

Stephanie Farfan is one of those ambassadors. Farfan, a little person who calls herself a “master Googler,” was looking for internships specially geared toward disability issues and found RespectAbility online. There weren’t a lot of other opportunities like it.

RespectAbility’s fellows program, which is supported by the Stanford and Joan Alexander and Ford foundations, allows students and young professionals to work in public policy and communications roles and in the organization’s foundation practice.

Before she came to Washington to attend graduate school in international studies at American University, Farfan worked in Florida with Little People of America. A fluent Spanish speaker, her volunteer work with Little People of America often involved talking with Hispanic parents of children with dwarfism.

Coming to RespectAbility, Farfan, who wants to pursue a career at the State Department, has spent much of her time delving into state laws and regulations on disability issues.

“Coming over to the policy side has given me a new perspective,” she says. “It’s rounded out my skill set.”

‘One Toe in the Water’

Mizrahi’s behind-the-scenes work has resulted in changes in foundation practices. In addition to the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy and the Belk Foundation, she shared — on the condition that they not be named — emails from several grant makers showing they had incorporated RespectAbility’s suggestions into their website design and broader communication strategy.

While she’d like to keep those successes private, she’s not afraid of publicly criticizing foundations she thinks are lagging behind.

She slammed the Lumina Foundation for not specifically incorporating people with disabilities in its work-force development grants. She said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided little money to directly support disabilities and did not collect or disseminate data on the progress of students with disabilities in its domestic education work.

“I am deeply disturbed that Lumina and Gates aren’t doing dramatically more,” she says. “They are both sort of one toe in the water.”

In response, Lumina’s director of strategic communications, Kevin Corcoran, said that while there is “laudable” work being done to ensure people with disabilities succeed after high school, the foundation’s focus was on educational outcomes for students of color. The Gates Foundation said it has been making changes to address the issue, but it did not single out any one person who pushed for the revisions.

In October 2017, Gates “refreshed” its approach to education grant making. Since then, the foundation has said it has begun to disaggregate the data it collects so it can track students with disabilities, and it has begun to support programs to accommodate disabled charter-school students.

“We have already begun to fund research to help us understand how the foundation could best support success, engagement, and transitions for students with disabilities, and we plan to make the results of this research publicly available, via our grantees,” the foundation said in a statement.

An Advantage From Dyslexia

Activists have pushed foundations to recognize disabilities in the broader civil-rights context for decades. In the 1980s, Donors Forum, a collective of Illinois grant makers now known as Forefront, had a board meeting to discuss a survey on diversity it was going to send out to members.

Marca Bristo, who was a board member at the time, said there were no questions about disabilities. “They just plain forgot about it,” says Bristo, who is president of Access Living, a Chicago disability and housing advocate.

More recently, Bristo has noticed a desire among large foundations to learn more. Before the MacArthur Foundation awarded $100 million to Sesame Street Workshop and the International Rescue Committee last year as part of its 100&Change challenge, Bristo sat down with the foundation’s president Julia Stasch to figure out how to incorporate inclusion of people with disabilities into the award.

With Susan Sygall, a former MacArthur fellow and CEO of Mobility International, Bristo reviewed the contest’s eight semifinalists and developed a disability checklist that the applicants could use to assess their pitches.

“Leaders from the disability-rights movement have been working on these issues for years,” she wrote in an email to the Chronicle. “The work RespectAbility has focused on is critically important but not new. No one organization can do this transformational work alone. The intransigence of stigma, prejudice, and exclusion requires a sustained and collaborative effort by all of us.”

Before the winners were named, Mizrahi was instrumental in “amplifying” the work to include people with disabilities, according to Cecilia Conrad, who leads MacArthur’s 100&Change program. Mizrahi consulted with the foundation about what constitutes full inclusion and wrote opinion pieces that highlighted the role of inclusion in the award.

For Mizrahi, becoming an effective communicator didn’t come naturally. As someone with dyslexia, she didn’t begin reading until she was 12 and didn’t achieve functional literacy until two years later. After an early growth spurt, she reached her full, above average, adult height at a very early age. She seemed all grown up, but she was having a difficult time. Adults around her expressed their disappointment in her academic progress, calling her “lazy.”

Mizrahi responded to the challenge through intensive work on reading. She expertly honed her listening and speaking skills. Now, she says, when she enters any conversation or debate, her disability has given her a huge advantage.

“Having a disability means there’s something you can’t do in your everyday living. But there’s nothing in the world that says you can’t be the best in the world at something else.”