News & Events

3rd Annual Cultural Festival – Celebrating Our Diversity

As we celebrated diversity and inclusion during the company’s 3rd Annual Cultural Festival, the smells of savory foods, the sounds of soulful music and inspirational messages filled the hearts and minds of Ability Beyond employees and some of the people we serve.

“Understanding each other and our team allows us to bring our true selves to work,” said Chief Executive Officer Jane Davis during the opening remarks of the event. “Its events like this that help us celebrate and better understand that diversity.”

In commending the organizers of the event, Jane went on to say, “It’s incredible what you put together today, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

The event is held annually by Breathe Equality, Ability Beyond’s first employee resource group. The group was formed about three years ago shortly after the murder of George Floyd.

 Embracing Diversity

“I’m so proud of Ability Beyond and the strides we’ve made,” said Shaileen Brighton-Ortiz, the organization’s director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. “Change can come from discomfort. And at a time when the world was uncomfortable, Ability Beyond took action. Ability gives us a platform to be ourselves every day and that’s vital to everything we do.”

Dozens of staff members and people we serve attended the event, which was held this year at our offices in Chappaqua, NY. And of course, there was plenty of food and entertainment to go around. From collard greens to ox tail and Cajun chicken, Spanish rice and cornbread, there was something for everyone.

 “Man in the Mirror”

Those attending were enchantingly entertained by Patrick Bogui, a musician from New Britain known as Dr. Violin, who inspired those attending with his rendition of Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.

“The best way to celebrate diversity comes with us, the man in the mirror,” Bogui said, “and I believe that’s what Michael Jackson meant when he wrote this song.”

Dwayne Moore, the chairperson of Breathe Equality, praised the organizers for putting together the event.

“Besides all the incredible food and music, you always make sure there is an educational component to the festival,” he said. “And that speaks volumes about your dedication to making Ability Beyond stronger.

“When we started, we knew the amount of work this would take, but we also knew how important that work would be to have an impact. And through that hard work, we’re having an impact every day.”

 Take Action

Diversity and Inclusion has been at the very heart of Ability Beyond since its founding 70 years ago. Find out more about what we do to celebrate our diversity and ensure everyone has a sense of belonging.

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