2015 Golisano Foundation Move to Include Award
The award was given to Rick Guidotti, the Founder and Director of Positive Exposure, for his exceptional work raising public awareness and educating people to understand and see the beauty in human diversity and our shared humanity.
Words cannot express the impact that Rick has on people. His ability to connect with people in such a genuine personal way, to bring out the joy and to see the very best in everyone.
Rick says he’s never photographed a genetic condition, he only photographs beauty...
He challenges us to see and think differently.
He’s a superb example of how one person can generate such meaningful change in attitudes and perspectives and shine a whole new light on people who are living with differences.
Quoting Rick.... "The only way we're going to understand inclusion and really love the idea of diversity is if we're comfortable with it."
From medical schools to communities to nations... Rick's passion, talent and eye for seeing the beauty in everyone has taken him on a mission in which he is changing the world – one Positive Exposure at a time.
For the last 15 years Rick Guidotti’s passion has been to show the humanity and beauty of people living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral differences. The award-winning former fashion photographer is the founder and director of Positive Exposure, a NYC-based non-profit arts, education and advocacy organization that explores the social and psychological experiences of people.
Guidotti has worked for clients such as Yves Saint Laurent, Elle, and Harpers Bazaar. Now he is working to affect a sea change in societal attitudes towards individuals living with genetic differences. His work has been widely published in the world’s leading newspapers, magazines and journals including Elle, GQ, People, the American Journal of Medical Genetics, The Lancet, Spirituality and Health, the Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly and Life Magazine.
Positive Exposure explores the social and psychological experiences of people living with genetic, physical, cognitive and behavioral conditions of all ages and ethno-cultural heritages. It provides new opportunities to see individuals living with a genetic difference first and foremost as a human being with his/her own challenges rather than as a specific diagnosis/disease entity.
Guidotti's work is also the focus of the new film On Beauty, which recently premiered to rave reviews in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere around the country. In the film, director Joanna Rudnick followed Guidotti, who grew tired of seeing the same ideal of beauty "spit up at us constantly." Disillusioned by the industry, in a moment of serendipity, Guidotti walked by a young woman with Albinism (a genetic condition that results in loss of pigmentation in the hair and eyes) at a NYC bus stop, and wondered why she wasn't considered beautiful in his other world. This exploration resulted in a show-stopping magazine spread for Life Magazine featuring young women with Albinism smiling out from under the headline "Redefining Beauty."
About the Award
An Award that challenges its very name
Samuel Beckett, the novelist and poet observed, “Words are all we have.” If that is true then we need to be mindful of those we use.
The disability field is fond of the word “include,” believing it refers to society embracing and celebrating value in human diversity. The reality is that the word is derived from the Latin word meaning “to shut in, enclose.” It can mean to “make room for,” “take into account,” “work in,” “accommodate,” and “admit.” All of which, does not describe the Golisano Foundation’s Move to Include Award.
This Award is not given to individuals and organizations that strive to “fit people in,” and “make room” for people with intellectual disabilities. The Award is not intended to honor the movement to include people despite their disabilities; and certainly not because of their disabilitie
The Golisano Move to Include Award was designed to demonstrate that inclusion should never be an afterthought, a “make room” effort or a “do over” effort in social justice. The Award points out that in our society there are individuals and organizations that understand that inclusion, true inclusion is not something that is created through a mission statement, a tagline or a bumper sticker. The Move to Include Award celebrates the “movement” - the arduous and tenacious movement - that strives to embrace people, not as an afterthought, and equally important to move the psyche of individuals, systems, communities and societies that will one day eliminate the need to offer awards noteworthy for succeeding in “allowing people; people with novelties” to be welcomed into the fold.
We do not learn anything by simply “including,” “allowing,“ or “permitting” others to live and work alongside of us. We do not profit or grow by “accepting,” or even “welcoming” people with disabilities.
We, as a neighborhood, community and society learn, grow and profit by “believing” in the sanctity, value and merit of “together.” The essence of “together” transcends “inclusion.” The Golisano Award belongs to those who believe that being together, not by mandate, statute or fiat; is the only way we can benefit from the joys, challenges and perspectives that “believing in being together” can be promoted and realized.
The Golisano Move to Include Award is given to those who both “believe” and “act” in the purest realm of the essence of “move to include.” It is given in the hope that the understanding of “include” can be elevated, promoted, ingrained and demonstrated at the highest levels of human behavior.
Award narrative wirtten by Rick Rader, MD, Co-Founder, American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry