Inclusion is EVERYONE'S Issue

Twitter quotes; Removing the Stumbling Block

It’s exciting to attend a conference focused entirely on disability inclusion. I am grateful to the leadership of the Ruderman Family Foundation for convening such an event. Regardless of one’s interest, connection, professional role, or personal story – being in a space with nearly 1300 other people who are passionate about and committed to inclusion is inspiring.

I spent the better part of two days in Boston catching up with old friends, making new connections, engaging in facilitated discussions, learning from the powerful work of others and just generally feeling energized that I am engaged in work that truly matters.

My Twitter feed (@JewishSpecialEd) will give you a glimpse at some of the significant takeaways:

We are stronger when we share our stories. Ernie Auperlee: “I am part of a warm, welcoming community not because I am different but because I am one of many. I belong.”

Inclusion needs an address, but it can’t be that all things rise & fall on any one person. Inclusion = WE!

“Disability affects everyone. We are all connected.” ~Congressman Gregg Harper

“No one can do everything. Everyone can do something.” ~Congressman Gregg Harper

We need to flip the narrative. “We identify children by their abilities, not labels.” ~Gary Siperstein of Camp Shriver

Retweeted: Torrie Dunlap of Kids Included Together: “In order to influence disability employment we need to start with kids and building more inclusive schools.” YES! It’s why I wrote: We Have to Teach So We Can Employ

“Disability inclusion isn’t “too big,” you just don’t want to deal with it.” ~Sandy Cardin of the Schusterman Foundation.

“Anything is possible…I don’t want to be rare.” ~Mandy Harvey as she addressed the audience and performed.

But there was one idea that bubbled up and over the rest. It is the notion that I am “rare” in the field of disability inclusion. Strange statement, right? But if you talk to most advocates and those passionately engaged in the work of increasing inclusion (please – TALK TO THEM!) you will learn that the vast majority are committed to this because they have a family/personal connection to a disability or have a disability themselves. Those of us who do this work “simply” (nothing is ever simple!) because we know it is the right and just thing to do are rare. And quite frankly, that has to change.

Inclusion is EVERYONE’S issue.

So go check out the hashtag #Inclusion2017 and learn from some
Including Each, Stregnthening All, Ruderman Inclusion Summit; Removing the Stumbling Block
amazing minds and souls. More importantly, take the message of inclusion to heart and know what I know – that an inclusive world is a stronger world. Let’s change the narrative one community at a time.

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