Celebrating Identity Beyond Diagnosis: Recognition + Representation of Children on Rare Medical Journeys

Event Date:
March 25th 12:00 PM - March 26th 7:30 PM

Close up photograph of young girl with Down Syndrome with a giant smile and red glasses, looking directly into the camera
Rick Guidotti

Change How You See - See How You Change!  

Inspired by this motto of Positive Exposure, this three-part series uplifts the individuality and humanity of children with special needs and disabilities.  The events will give voice to a community which is all-too-often marginalized and vulnerable.  Local, global and youth perspectives all will be addressed during the different events, each of which offers valuable information for parents, educators, social workers and health care providers - as well as the medical, nursing, dental and social work students on our campus.

All events will be produced virtually; they are free and open to the community.  Registration is required to receive the Zoom links for each event.

An event of the Cleveland Humanities Festival  || Co-sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, Office for Disability Resources, Office of Interprofessional Education, Research and Collaborative Practice, and The Research Institute for Children's Health

Building Trust Through Representation: At the Intersection of Disability, Race and Parenting
Book cover of "We Dare Be Brave" with a stylized image of three Black women with their arms linked

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Time: 12-1 pm

Description:  Charisse (Nikki) Montgomery, Salina Miller and Patricia Parker, authors of We Dare Be Brave: African American moms and the emotional journey of raising children with disabilities, will share their personal experiences as Black parents and as advocates to improve the experiences and health outcomes of children with complex medical needs. Increasing empathy, equity and inclusion will require significant changes in the ways families, educators and health care providers think.  Participants will be invited to bring questions and will leave with practical strategies for the future.

Rick Guidotti: Recognizing Beauty in Difference
Photograph of Rick Guidotti, a white man dressed in black smiling at the camera
Rick Guidotti

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021

Time: 6-7:30 pm

Description:  After a chance encounter with a young woman living with albinism, award-winning international fashion photographer Rick Guidotti began exploring images in medical textbooks. He was affronted by the dehumanizing photographs depicting disease and disability, lacking all sense of individuality.  This catalyzing experience led Rick to found Positive Exposure and to turn his lens from the more traditional ideas of beauty to the richness of human diversity.  Rick will share - in images and story - his encounters with children around the world and explain how we can steady our gazes to see the beauty in difference.  He'll also introduce FRAME: Faces Redefining the Art of Medical Education, a resource that changes how medical information is presented to health care professionals-in-training, clinicians, families and communities. 

In Our Own Words: PEARLS Ambassadors & Youth Advocacy
Photograph of a young Black woman with cerebral palsy, seated in an electric wheelchair and beaming at the camera with a beautiful smile
Rick Guidotti

Date: Friday, March 26

Time: 1-2 pm

Description: Join us to meet young ambassadors who are changing people's perspectives with their honesty, thoughtfulness, and humor.  They will discuss their own journeys and share what inspires them to speak out.  The Youth Ambassadors of PEARLS Project and their families are empowered self-advocates, using their unique voices to foster positive change.  The project is a creative tool for classrooms, professional development and research, as well as for anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding and respect for human diversity. 

Click here to view and/or download a series PDF.

Community Partners: Achievement Centers for ChildrenA Special Wish Cleveland, Jewish Education Center of Cleveland - SEGULAMadvocator: Educational and Health Care TrainingMother to Mother, Positive Education ProgramREACH - Resource, Education and Community Help Services, UCP of Greater Cleveland, The Up Side of Downs of Northeast Ohio (as of 3/9)