AXIS meets Jenny Mitchell, Director of Laughing Feet Performers

AXIS Blog Editor Rebecca Fortelka chats with Jenny Mitchell, the Executive Director of Laughing Feet Performers in Wichita, Kansas on collaboration. The AXIS team is excited to partner and be received by Laughing Feet on the 2016 tour season

Born into a music and theatre family, Jenny Mitchell uses her background in her direction of Laughing Feet, to break down walls and develop trust in the special needs Kansas Community

- Rebecca Fortelka: How did you find out about AXIS?

Jenny Mitchell: I saw [AXIS] on So You Think You Can Dance I believe in 2012 on the results show. I then googled and you tubed and learned everything I could about you. I tucked you away in my memory of hopefully bringing you to Wichita to work with my performers.


- RF:  What inspired you to reach out to AXIS to propose a collaboration with Laughing Feet? 

Jenny Mitchell: It is important to me that as my program grows and continues, I want my performers to know that they can do anything they want in life. I want them to see if I want to be a dancer, I can. If I want to be a singer, I can. If I want to be an actor, I can. AXIS was such a perfect match. We pair typical performers with performers with disabilities, and so do you! I wanted to see that anything is possible.


- RF: Tell us about Laughing Feet.  How and when did you start?  Who do you serve? 

Laughing Feet Performers evolved out of a social mentoring group in the Wichita Public Schools and the surrounding communities. Our first variety show was performed in 2007 and has occurred on an annual basis since then, involving approx 60 to 80 performers each year. Performers have ranged in age from 10 years old to 57 years old and have consisted of typical performers and special needs performers that have physical, learning, mental and behavior disabilities such as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsey, spina bifida, etc. In 2010, Laughing Feet Performers was officially organized to make sure that performance opportunities continued to occur for special needs participates long after they graduated from high school and to allow for more community involvement in its performers. Laughing Feet performances have singing, dancing, joke telling, imagination, creative dramatics, play acting, and lots and lots of laughter; we about the process, not the product – although the product is pretty awesome. We focus on learning about each other as people and seeing other for who they are, not what they are. 


- RF:  What are your favorite moments at Laughing Feet? 

JM: All of them! The performers give back to me more than I could ever give to them. Their unconditional love, joy of performing, excitement on the stage is truly contagious! More than anything though, I love watching their families watch them perform. Most times they are seeing their children on that stage do things they never dreamed they would get to do. It is so beautiful and makes my heart swell each time. 


- RF: What is your favorite thing about dancing? 
JM: I grew up dancing and in a musical family; it has always been apart of my life. In particular with Laughing Feet I am amazed at what a medium music and dance can be. I have performers who may not be able to have a conversation with me that will communicate with me though music and dance. Over the years, performers have achieved more and more confidence in their singing and dancing abilities and I have been able to give them more and more challenging dance steps and songs. It's the growth each year that really touches me. As a side note, I named the organization Laughing Feet because #1 we LOVE to laugh and do alot of it in rehearsals. and #2, we LOVE to dance, so the name just felt right for us! 

Introducing New Faces

AXIS Dance Company is proud to present our Fall 2016 dancers! Our new dancers join us after participating in a competitive two-day-long audition and 10-day Summer Intensive. Seasoned AXIS dancers Dwayne Scheuneman and Julie Crothers will also return this Fall alongside apprentice dancer Carina Ho. We are also happy to announce our new Rehearsal Director, Gregory Dorado.

Now in their fourth week of rehearsal, our dancers are working hard to prepare for our Rotunda Series Performance, Dance Access Days, and a three-week tour. Don’t forget to stay in touch to know all the details of our events!

Top row, left to right: Lani Dickinson, Kai Hazelwood, Gregory Dorado, James Bowen Bottom row, left to right: Dwayne Scheuneman, Julie Crothers, Liv Schaffer, Carina Ho

Top row, left to right: Lani Dickinson, Kai Hazelwood, Gregory Dorado, James Bowen
Bottom row, left to right: Dwayne Scheuneman, Julie Crothers, Liv Schaffer, Carina Ho

Get to know our new faces…

Gregory Dorado, Rehearsal Director


Gregory is a dancer, choreographer, actor, writer and director. His work investigates universal human experience, community engagement and his own identity as a queer artist of color. He is a firm believer that every body has a story to tell and its own unique language with which to tell it. Play and pleasure guide his approach to technique for movers of all shapes, sizes, abilities and cultures.

“Every day that I get to spend with the company members and artistic staff at AXIS has been an opportunity to expand my knowledge as a teacher, a working artist and as an advocate.”


James M. Bowen, Company Dancer

Originally from Dallas, TX, James began his dance training at Kansas State University. He was part of Dallas Black Dance Theater as well as HappyNia Dance Theater. In 2012, James moved to Los Angeles and joined the contemporary dance company “Inked”. Upon his relocation to the Bay in 2014, he has been part of numerous dance projects such as the online TV show “Steady Mobbin”.

“Part of my excitement to be part of AXIS comes from knowing that I will be sharing the stage with dancers that may have different physical abilities, but all share the same goal of showing how powerful dance can be”.


Kai Hazelwood, Company Dancer

Kai is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Her training includes the San Francisco Ballet School, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey, and the Kirov Ballet. After working with the Oakland Ballet Company Kai relocated to Los Angeles and received her BFA in Dance from UCLA. She has worked in Los Angeles, Europe, and beyond.

“I’m excited to learn a lot about integrated/accessible dance, and to create strong collaborative relationships with my fellow company members.”

Alivia Schaffer, Company Dancer

“Joining AXIS, I am excited to represent a group of movers that offers points of entry to an expansive community, and challenge my own dance concepts […]”.

Liv, a multidisciplinary artist from Chicago, received her BFA from Dominican University of California with Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program in 2013. Liv spent the 2013-2015 seasons dancing with DanceWorks Chicago, and has since worked as a choreographer and teaching artist nationwide. Live joined AXIS Dance Company in 2016.

“[…] I’m working within to remember we are hearts, souls, and spirits, working in these bodies.” 

Lani Dickinson, Company Dancer

“[…] Due to my classical ballet training I carry my differences with grace. In the arena of various bodies, backgrounds, and personalities I think change is nothing to fear.”

Lani was born and adopted from China. Recently, she graduated with a degree in dance from the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program. Lani is a 2015 Princess Grace Award winner. She has trained with the LINES faculty, San Francisco Conservatory instructors, and guest artists including Sidra Bell, and Eric Beauchesne. Lani professionally dances for former ODC Dance Company members Yayoi Kambara and Robert Dekkers, separately.

“I am excited to re-invigorate the conversation using dance as our common language. Staying true to the social model of disability I hope to lessen that penumbra of spatial apprehension between disabled and non-disabled people. Because, I think observing somebody engaged in the essence translates into something beautiful.”


An inside look into AXIS Dance Company's Summer Intensive 2016


The AXIS Summer Intensive is an unparalleled dance experience for dancers with and without disabilities to develop their technique while collaborating with dancers. This year’s summer intensive proved to be nothing less than motivating, insightful, and empowering as people from all over the world, both disabled and non-disabled, discovered new ways of expanding their artistry. From dancing in unconventional spaces to tackling language around disability, the summer intensive was an in-depth look at creativity and how we as a world community can change—so that people of all abilities may reach their full creative potential. The experience, no doubt, has proven that a dancer does not have to be slim, with long legs, and with the ability to walk, hear, or see; but rather the willingness to learn and being in an environment that offers support and access to people of all kinds.   

This year, we received wonderful feedback from summer intensive participants Maria Jose Rodriguez De La Luna (Majo) and Kimberly Ocampo (Kim). While Maria expanded her view on contemporary dance after the 10 day workshop, Kimberly talked of her own disability and how the intensive has shifted her views on her ability to dance.

Maria Jose Rodriguez: "Learning to fly, I found myself. I have spent the last few weeks full of love and dance, with a wonderful dance company called AXIS and some beautiful beings that inspire my life and fill me with desire and joy to follow this amazing dance journey. There were three modules which showed me the infinite possibilities which any type of body offers; three modules which beat me up, questioned me, helped me to understand more the path of inclusion. I believe that we are powerful and that the heart also dances; that we are breaking barriers, prototypes; that anything is possible. I know that the message that we want to give inspires and strengthens us against those who have said we can’t. I am infinitely proud of what I can do, what I am, and what I stand for. Thank you to EVERYONE who made this possible. Thanks to AXIS and its members for sharing their souls, bodies and knowledge that enables its summer camp intensive students to be colossal, true, strong and present. I know that for everyone who shared this experience, this is the beginning of something immense, truly powerful; something which enhances their existence and shines a light on the beautiful differences with which we were built. They are awesome and I am fortunate to be able to know them, to have been able to dance with them, and to have learned by their sides. Don’t forget, should you fall, to pick yourself back up with style, like only Majo knows how. Gracias”


Kimberly Ocampo: “I wanted to share my experience being with AXIS and to be very honest it was probably one of the best experiences, since my accident, involving dance. I recently, July 19th, 2015, had a car accident. I was riding my bicycle to work and a car hit me and I became paralyzed. Before my accident I was always salsa dancing, teaching, competing, performing, and it was something that was a really big part of my life. Now that I get to do it in my wheelchair and be surrounded by people who are very positive, who are willing to help, and teach you what you can do with your body being paralyzed from the waist down gave me great appreciation because it’s probably not the easiest thing to do. Being able to have patience and communication was one of the biggest keys for me. People were very open to new ideas and input on the dances/choreography. Everyone was so helpful and I really appreciated it.

I went in there not knowing what to expect, but it definitely went beyond my expectations. They taught me how to create movements with my neck, face, head, shoulders, elbows, hands, and arms. It even got to the point where I wanted to dance with my whole body, so I still dance with my legs and feet. It might be different, but I’m still doing it. This made me realize dancing is a way of self expression and contemporary dance is just another way for me to be myself. Being surrounded by these amazing teachers and directors made this whole experience more fun for me.”  

Why Ableist Language Matters!

From the desk of Guest Editor, and AXIS Dance Company board member, Rebecca Fortelka.

Rebecca Fortelka, AXIS's Social Media Coordinator

Rebecca Fortelka, AXIS's Social Media Coordinator

Ableism is a hot topic in the disability community. There are so many opinions about ableism. In this blog piece, I aim to dispel some myths about ableism and why it can be both a good and a bad thing. 

Words have the power to hurt or empower, so as not to hurt people when speaking, we have to choose our words wisely. The definition of Ableism, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.” This language includes, but is not limited to the likes of: crazy, lazy, insane, lame, dumb, retarded, blind, deaf, idiot, imbecile, invalid, maniac, nuts, psycho, and spaz. These are all hurtful words that have the ability to cut deeply.

One could argue that they are only words and we should just ignore them. Yet we also know that words can hurt, and we all need to learn from our missteps. My friend Stephanie Welch, a chronic pain warrior and someone I admire for her strength and advocacy for those of us that are disabled and or deal with chronic pain, said that her social media pages Mrs. Welches Warriors were created to educate people about ableism.  Support and awareness are key when dealing with issues that impact our lives so heavily. Ableist language perpetuates stereotypes. Just because words are used by people in the media or by the disabled community, doesn't necessary make them right. 

As Megan Cottage, another chronic illness warrior, recently pointed out, we who have health issues tend to suppress our personalities and it can be difficult for those of us that don’t understand what we go through to understand. We may have to cancel plans or not be able to respond to electronic communications, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care or appreciate your support and care. When someone uses ableist language, such as "you are lazy" or "you are lame," this shakes us to the core. No one wants to just be excluded from life or ignored. People who are disabled are already considered a marginalized or oppressed class, so we should be building us up and using this as teachable moment to show the world that although we have our struggles, we have the ability to change the world for the better.

On the flip side, encountering ableist language offers people the chance to have an open dialogue about what we as a disabled population face, and how using appropriate and political correct language has its benefits. We want to minimize stereotypes and limiting societal views. At AXIS we use dance as a teaching tool to break down barriers and help people find a common ground with people with and without disabilities. Ableist language is something that has been entrenched in our society, but we hope our AXIS NEXUS blog readers help to educate the world about how ableism hurts and negatively affects lives.



Our Exec's Interview on Digital Engagement

Eugenia Bowman, AXIS Dance Company's Executive Director, had a recent interview on learning to build and run a Social Media engine!

Here's a snippet of that interview with Lutman & Associates, who had developed a course for organizations having difficulty developing of digital and web presence for AXIS Dance Company. 

Eugenia (pictured right) and Rebecca Fortelka (On Screen) discuss Social Media reach and strategy in weekly meetings. 

Eugenia (pictured right) and Rebecca Fortelka (On Screen) discuss Social Media reach and strategy in weekly meetings. 

I: What is the role of fear in your work?

    E: I sat in trepidation having some real barriers because I was ignorant, frankly, about how easy it is to use social media. Prior to coming to AXIS I never had the benefit of working with a Social Media Coordinator. Rebecca Fortelka, an AXIS Board Member, had a degree in marketing and management and was hired as an independent contractor. I started Skyping with her once a week and she started bombarding me with resources and tips. That helped me to become a little more familiar with the terms and trends and what was necessary.

    So what I did to circumvent that fear and ignorance was to read everything I could, attend webinars, go to boot camps, and then just start plugging at it. I brought on an amazing marketing specialist as a volunteer, Sharon Fletcher, who skyped with Rebecca and I almost weekly for the initial build out and continues tracking and supporting our progress. I learned how to write concisely (we try to avoid getting the “read more” prompt).

    In advance of “East Bay Gives,” a day of nonprofit fundraising, the East Bay Community Foundation did a social media boot camp and they provided a template to work with around the campaign and two 1-2 hour trainings. The most important lesson during the boot camp was the importance of “link campaigning.” They shared how important it was to find like-minded people and organizations, sharing content, and building an expanded community network.

How did your organization get started on social media?

    Rebecca pushed the organization early on to start, but perhaps no one had the time or bandwidth, or understood how important it was. I made some strategic decisions when I came in. I hired for Systems, IT, and Finance capability and took on the responsibility of learning our audiences and content issues. I think it’s one of the best decisions I made.

    Rebecca did some analytics and found which hashtags had the most juice for us. We picked 3 or 4 that we pretty much stay consistent with (#SpokesPerson, for instance) and then, depending on the programmatic part, we alter them a bit. When we’re on a tour there’s a certain hashtag, when there’s an education event for youth there’s another. We also looked at national trends for big campaigns that related to our mission, divvied them up, and then became consistent. We keep our hashtags current, and continue to experience and learn what content relates to our audiences. Now we’re testing times of day, making sure there is always a picture, article, or video.

    For East Bay Gives we did a step-by-step with our board—how you invite people to like our page, where to find our events, this is how you invite people, this is how you share our post on your wall. We hosted a National Convening on the Future of Physically Integrated Dance in NYC in May. We got organized ahead of time and created a hashtag campaign. We hit 495,000 timelines!  We have regional meetings now following along on the future of physically-integrated dance and created a toolkit and modified it later for our summer-intensive scholarship recipients to become brand-ambassadors [alongside our board, volunteers and staff]. It was clear for the regionals we needed to do a lot more training, and now we have a program for that.

Was there a tipping point when you became comfortable with using social media? 

    To get started, Facebook was enough for me, but Rebecca divvied Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter up and figured out which was the best based on our analytics. The minute one of my posts hit 1,000 views I was hooked! And then 5,000 people would see a post and then we got up to 15,000 people seeing one post. I could see it spread like wildfire.

     Now we’re watching our website. We’re tracking the time they spend on it; what interests them. We’ve gone from people spending 45 seconds to spending 2 minutes, looking at the history of the organization, our bibliography, etc. Our big concern right now is landing pages and calls to action...

    I had a goal of reaching 100,000 people in 6 months. We reached 100,000 people in 4 months! Two months later we reached over 450,000 at the convening. Collaborative campaigns were our next step, so we have been reaching out and creating partnerships with other organizations, doing joint posts and sharing blogs.

Have you ever made a mistake?

    One mistake was over-saturating our channels. We were on a roll, hitting 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 15,000. East Bay Gives happened and, since we had prizes we were competing for, we had timed posts scheduled for every prize we wanted. But the Kimbia network slammed… We still had something every hour on the hour and it was too much. That was a lesson. We’re now regaining our post hits, keeping most at a minimum of 1500 again, being more selective, not ramming things down people’s throats on a constant basis!

What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started?

    Rebecca says, “It's just a pound sign people!” There's nothing to be nervous about. Even if you over-saturate and you watch your numbers go down, you’ll figure it out. You just pull back, and become more selective. Leave people wanting more! And think strategically. And have fun. I’ve learned a lot and feel like AXIS is creating the foundation for great things in the future.

Lutman & Associates is a consulting enterprise working nationally with philanthropic, cultural, and media organizations. The Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation commissioned a report on digital innovation in legacy cultural institutions in early 2015. The project highlighted how organizations have trouble getting started in digital, so they decided to create a free online course to help folksThey noticed AXIS, and wanted to learn about how AXIS built its programming with such great results in a short period of time.

Summer Intensive 2016 has kicked off...

The AXIS staff and dancers are really excited to kick off the 2016 Summer Intensive 2016 today! We look forward to this program every year because it is so amazing to get such a diverse group together for a common goal of physically integrated dance. 

AXIS Dancer Julie instructing the group in an improvisation exercise this afternoon. 

AXIS Dancer Julie instructing the group in an improvisation exercise this afternoon. 

We would like to share a written piece from one of our participants, Dawn States, from her personal blog about her excitement before the Summer Intensive. 

Here's an excerpt:

This is a huge step for me and a new approach to dancing. I was a former ballerina and took classes from the age of five. Dance meant everything to me and I was prepared to follow this road for the rest of my life. This was not the case and after two major spinal surgeries and a car accident where I broke my hip, it seemed like I might not dance again. I was crushed.

Read the entire piece here.

Dawn (bottom) dancing with another participant, Kim O'Campo. 

Dawn (bottom) dancing with another participant, Kim O'Campo. 

We are thrilled that Dawn found us and chose to be a part of Summer Intensive 2016. Keep checking out our social media for the next 10 days to see what's happening with the Summer Intensive! 

'Wheels Up!' New England Regional Convening

Jeremy Alliger, who produced the first International Festival of Wheelchair Dance in Boston in June 1997, reminisces with Judith Smith, co-founder and artistic director of AXIS Dance Company, while Kristen San Miguel of BDA and Daniela Jacobson of NEFA listen.

Jeremy Alliger, who produced the first International Festival of Wheelchair Dance in Boston in June 1997, reminisces with Judith Smith, co-founder and artistic director of AXIS Dance Company, while Kristen San Miguel of BDA and Daniela Jacobson of NEFA listen.


AXIS Dance Company's National Convening on the Future of Physically Integrated Dance in May was a huge success, gathering leaders in the field, funders and presenters in the first meeting of its kind since 1997. Last month Boston Dance Alliance led the first of six follow-up regional convenings with 'Wheels Up! New England Town Hall on Physically Integrated Dance.' 

Dancer, actor and vocational rehabilitation expert with disabilities Elvar Ariza-Silva offers suggestions for inclusive practices, along with choreographer and professor Jody Weber, chair of the BDA’s Artists Advisory Panel

Dancer, actor and vocational rehabilitation expert with disabilities Elvar Ariza-Silva offers suggestions for inclusive practices, along with choreographer and professor Jody Weber, chair of the BDA’s Artists Advisory Panel


Excerpt from Boston Dance Alliance's 'Wheels Up!' website:

"Dancers, choreographers, presenters, arts administrators, disability activists, state arts accessibility program managers, medical and rehabilitation specialists, special education teachers and more were brought together from across the region to meet at the offices of our partner New England Foundation for the Arts — many for the first time.

We shared, we laughed, we brainstormed and we began to strategize about how to create an environment that encourages dancers of all types of ability to participate in the dance we love."

Read more on the Boston Dance Alliance website.

AXIS Co-Founder and Artistic Director Judith Smith and marathon champion Dr. Cheri Blauwet gave the keynote on 'Art and Athleticism,' moderated by Boston Dance Alliance Executive Director Debra Cash. Watch their keynote below:


Many thanks to Boston Dance Alliance, to National Convening consultants Jennifer Calienes and Debra Cash (Executive Director, Boston Dance Alliance), and to all those who participated in the New England Regional Convening.  

Throughout 2016, AXIS will partner with seven other organizations to produce five more regional convenings in the US. Read more about our regional convenings here.

Want to participate? Join the conversation by using #FPIDance, #Dance4All, and #uhaveabodyucandance on social media. 

The Future of Integrated Dance

Group photo taken at National Convening on the Future of Integrated Dance in the US. 

Group photo taken at National Convening on the Future of Integrated Dance in the US. 

Silva Laukkanen, of VSA Texas, reflects on her experiences at AXIS Dance Company's National Convening and the future of physically integrated dance. VSA Texas is an organization dedicated to challenging perceptions of how people contribute by creating an arts-inspired, inclusive community of individuals with diverse abilities. 

Excerpt from VSA Texas' blog post National Convening on the Future of Integrated Dance in the US:

"The convening came at a great time for us as we are in the midst of planning the next steps for Body Shift. One of the ideas we are most excited about is developing strategies to open our Body Shift community to be more thoroughly included in the larger dance community in Austin.  Our hope is to reach out to local dance artists and studios and offer lecture demonstrations to present about integrated dance that is happening at the international, national, regional, and local level.  We also hope to discuss ways that we can begin working together to create a truly inclusive dance culture. The dream of anybody being able to take part in a dance class and feel good about it is that much closer.  The idea being that when the description of a dance class or workshop says open to all, it really means all." 

Read the entire blog post here

Silva Laukkanen, Olivia O'Hare, Connie Michael and Alito Alessi improvising to the sound of the sirens during a fire drill at the National Convening. 

Join the conversation by using #FPIDance #Dance4All and #uhaveabodyucandance on social media. 


Normal is a Fantasy

Dr. Linda Williams, Founder and Creator of Invisible Disability Project, and Monica Slabaugh, Chief Curator, reflect on AXIS Dance Company's to go again performance, embracing disorder, diversity, and disability. 

The Invisible Disability Project was recently invited to AXIS Dance Company’s touring
performance, to go again, at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. To go again brings light to the resilience, lived traumas, and social invisibility of veterans and their families through movement, music, and spoken words. Veteran choreographer Joe Goode based the performance on stories collected from veterans who recently returned from war and their families. 

Dwayne Scheuneman and Kevin Lopez in to go again. Photo by Rahim Ullah

Dwayne Scheuneman and Kevin Lopez in to go againPhoto by Rahim Ullah

In one scene, three dancers are arranged in triangular formation, backs to the audience. Their bodies are motionless except for their arms, which make hard, quick motions in beat with the sound of clicking gears. At times, all three sets of arms move in the same way at the same time. But at other times, each dancer interprets, translates, and reacts to the rhythmic clicking differently. Six limbs move like disorderly arms on three unpredictable clocks, or like a series of unruly and asymmetrical versions of the Cartesian man. What does it mean to be in sync? What happens when we linger in spaces of non-synchrony? What does it mean to defy the ideal body? The ideal mind?

It isn’t surprising that humans are hardwired to look for difference and diversity. We do
this without thinking so that we may guard ourselves against the dangerousness of disorder. Consider, for example, the evolutionary basis of staring. We stare at the unexpected, at that which startles us. We notice difference, and all at once it alarms, excites, and captivates us. In staring, our brains attempt to make sense of disorder, to know what is unknown*. It follows that we find comfort and safety in sameness and repetition. Efforts to maintain sameness are manifest in our thoughts, actions, and our language, and have shaped and preserved cultural notions of normalcy.

Julie Crothers and Sophie Stanley in Dix minutes plus tard. Photo by Rahim Ullah

Julie Crothers and Sophie Stanley in Dix minutes plus tard. Photo by Rahim Ullah

But normal is a fantasy.

Our diverse bodies and minds move together in space and time in different ways - because diversity is real. And thankfully, disorder persists. Invisible Disability Project and AXIS Dance Company disrupt normalcy by expanding the vocabulary of movement and athleticism, and by challenging language, mindsets, and systems.

 “These are some of the stories, some of the words that will be spoken. And speaking them matters.” To go again beautifully translates the stories of veterans through voice and movement. This creates space to share in the unseen experiences of a marginalized and largely “invisible” population.

AXIS dancers working with recreation therapy patients at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital.

AXIS dancers working with recreation therapy patients at the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital.

Consider this: What would happen if we sought change outside of the most challenged
individuals and instead, asked this from the least challenged around them? Bodily and neurodiversity need flexible structures, allies, and partnerships. The Invisible Disability Project is a Benefits Corporation (B Corp) with a social mission to center bodily and neurodiversity in a culture of equity. We begin by re-imagining what it means to be a citizen philanthropist. What would happen if philanthropy’s mission was to increase and share in social capital, rather than amass private capital that remains out of the common good? What would happen if philanthropy was a mindset - a culture of equity and care - that lived in the everyday spaces we inhabit, and affected the people in our everyday lives?

*See Rosemarie Garland-Thompson’s Staring

Learn more about the movement at