Reflection and Commitment
Ability Beyond Team,
Reflecting on this past week, I wanted to reach out to the team again and reiterate my thoughts on what has been happening nationally. Since George Floyd’s murder, I have experienced so many emotions – disgust, frustration, outrage, and sadness. I recognize and acknowledge that this grief and pain is not new to the Black community, including our Black colleagues in the Ability Beyond Family, who have experienced racial injustice and discrimination.
It is critical to me that our culture reject anything but diversity and inclusion. Equally important, I have been asking myself, for Ability Beyond, what can I as a leader, and we as a community, do better?
We are committed to equality and inclusion – it is literally what we do every day, and what we are trying to accomplish every time we convince a new employer to take a chance, or open a new home in a new neighborhood, or help the people we serve find their rightful place in their communities. Right now, it is important that we also look internally to make sure we carry those values and actions equally for each other and for all. As a community, we need to stand together in support of diversity and inclusion, and reject the racial discrimination that many on our team and in our community may have experienced. Just that thought is heartbreaking to me. I am hopeful that we can turn this moment of pain and anguish for so many, into an opportunity to show empathy and seek greater understanding. Most importantly, how can we do better tomorrow? What action can we take?
Let’s not be afraid of tough conversations. Let’s not assume that because we are an organization that seeks to ensure inclusion for people with disabilities, that we do the same for members of our community who are Black. In this period of self-reflection, let’s be honest with ourselves and each other and let’s commit to striving for more.
Our mission statement here at Ability Beyond is simple: “to discover, build and celebrate the ability in all people”. When that statement was written years ago, we purposely meant to include everyone, the people we serve, colleagues, team members, and the greater community around us. Today, and forward, it takes on an even greater importance and meaning. And it will make us stronger.
As we continue to fight for the dignity and inclusion of people with disabilities, I invite you to join me in the challenge of how we can do better and be better for our Black community. If you have any ideas on how we can better support diversity and inclusion of all kinds here at Ability Beyond, please share them with me. I am committed to taking action to create positive change and I want to hear from you – so please share via email directly to me your thoughts.
And lastly, to our Ability Beyond family – to our Black employees and your families, to the Black individuals we serve and their families – to the Black community as a whole, we stand with you.
President & CEO
4 Berkshire Boulevard
Bethel, CT 06801