WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 16, 2021)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), in celebration of 100 years of creating a more inclusive world for people who are blind or visually impaired, launched a series of “Centennial Conversations”—curated webinars focused on the pressing issues and topics affecting the blind and low vision communities, pairing prominent speakers with younger voices. On Thursday, April 22 at 2 p.m. EDT, AFB presents Matthew Whitaker: The Inclusive Power of Music.

Matthew Whitaker is a multi-instrumentalist who taught himself to play piano at age 3, the Hammond B3 organ at age 9, and four years later he became the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond in its more than 80-year history. He was also named a Yamaha Artist at 15, becoming the youngest musician to join the stellar group of jazz pianists. Having just turned 20, Matthew is currently enrolled in the jazz studies program at Juilliard in New York City, the first person who is blind to be accepted in the program.

With AFB Major Gifts Specialist Melody Goodspeed guiding the conversation, the pair will discuss the power of combining music, technology, self-advocacy, and collaboration. The event is free, with required registration available at afb.org/InclusivePowerOfMusic.

As with all AFB centennial events, the Inclusive Power of Music will be an inclusive event – captions, ASL, audio description, and transcripts will be made available.

“Matthew’s music comes straight from his heart and I have learned a great deal from him,” Goodspeed said. “He tells a beautiful story in each note he plays and brings joy in challenging places. His musical prowess illustrates that we all need to take our unique gifts and apply them for the greater good.”

Future Centennial Conversations include:
• Gratitude, Courage, and Joy: May 27, 2 p.m. EDT
• Inclusion, Intersectionality, and the Future of Work: June 24, 2 p.m. EDT
• Making Money Work: Including Disability in the Financial Equation: July 22, 2 p.m. EDT

These centennial events are made possible through the generous sponsorship of partners like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, JPMorgan Chase & Co., American Printing House for the Blind, Exelon, Google, LHH, Northrop Grumman, Pepco, U.S. Bank, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Walmart, Microsoft, Verizon, Charter Communications, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, and IBM. For those interested in sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amanda Kolling, senior engagement and brand manager, at akolling@afb.org.

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About the American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. AFB is proud to steward the Helen Keller Archive, maintain and expand the digital collection, and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. Visit: www.afb.org