These past few weeks have been tumultuous for our nation. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in protest; denouncing the societal impacts police brutality and institutional racism have played in our communities.
Disability Network of Mid-Michigan (DNMM) stands in solidarity with the black community, including those throughout our twelve-county region, in speaking out against oppression and discrimination. As a Center for Independent Living (CIL), we are committed to advocating for and working toward justice for all people. Our agency’s guiding vision is of accessible and inclusive communities that provide opportunities for individual choice. Systemic racism and oppression directly challenge inclusion efforts and further marginalizes minority populations. DNMM is therefore committed to doing our part to fight these injustices.
We vow to purposefully identify, discuss and challenge issues of race and the impacts they have on our organization and the communities we serve. We will challenge ourselves to better understand and correct these inequities. As a first step, we will be joining with many other advocacy organizations throughout Michigan in engaging our staff and board of directors in a 21-day racial equity challenge. The challenge will focus on the concept of race and how it influences us as individuals and as an organization, as well as how perceptions of race have contributed to inequity in our laws, institutions, and systems.
Inclusion is a universal human right for all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any other discernible quality. To be inclusive is to promote a sense of belonging, respect, and value for who you are as a person. It is about equal access and opportunities for everyone. Inclusion is an integral part of our Independent Living Philosophy.
We invite you to join us in our efforts to develop and implement strategies that dismantle racism. You can access the challenge at https://mlpp.org/21-day-racial-equity-challenge
We are all in this together.
Kelly L. PeLong
Disability Network of Mid-Michigan