CONTRIBUTOR TO RARE BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO
Jaz Gray is a researcher, patient advocate, transformational speaker, content creator, and social entrepreneur from Memphis, Tennessee. She speaks, moderates panels, and leads workshops on a range of topics including the power of stories, the representation of disability in the media, healthy self-image, quality patient care, empowerment, bullying, resilience, and divine purpose. Jaz is passionate about using every gift and opportunity to glorify God through facilitating transformational change in the lives of the disempowered and dispirited.
Jaz has been featured on affiliate networks for NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. She has worked for entertainment corporations including Cartoon Network, BET, and Paramount Pictures where she co-founded an ad-hoc committee to address health-related diversity. Jaz’s work has been featured in publications including the Nashville Tennessean, the Louisville Courier-Journal, and the women’s empowerment bestseller Storealities: A Collection of Stories by Empowering Women to Empower Women. Her first short film, a day-in-the-life documentary called Ryan's Story, premiered at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.
Jaz is the founder of Jaz's Jammies Inc. which has donated over 6,000 pairs of new pajamas to sick and displaced children and created philanthropic opportunities for over 2,000 people. The organization has expanded to organize lively, themed pajama parties for kids in children’s hospitals including the signature Jaz’s Jammies Carnival of Dreams. Jaz also sits on the board of The Dopson Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating spaces of inclusion for women and girls with disabilities.
Jaz holds a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University where she graduated summa cum laude and was awarded both the Community Service Award and the school’s highest honor, the President’s Award. She holds an M.A. from Syracuse University where she was a Turner Diversity Fellow and Graduate School Master’s Prize recipient. She was also one of 20 students selected for the 2010 USA Today All-USA College Academic First Team. Jaz has conducted communication research in Ghana and the U.K. as well as presented research in China. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Communication as a Roy H. Park Doctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is an educator.