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Respect, inclusion, equality and justice for all are cornerstones of the disability rights movement. As an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities, we value every life and ensure that people of all abilities are treated in accordance with these principles.Systemic racism and discrimination—specifically against the black community—is a scourge that prevents us from achieving these goals. Yet it’s one we must not only acknowledge, but actively combat.The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others remind us that there are many levels of racism—some obvious, and others that we, as individuals, may not recognize in ourselves. We must examine our attitudes, our behaviors, our worldviews and our practices if we truly wish to eliminate it.Our agency serves a diverse community. We employ and collaborate with people of all races and backgrounds. It is critical that all of these groups feel valued and included, and that our policies and practices address everyone as equals, with dignity and respect.Racism and discrimination have no place in our society. The color of one’s skin has no bearing on their value or potential to contribute to humanity, and it should not factor into their treatment by any person or organization. Correcting such injustices will require the concerted efforts of everyone in our agency, our county, our state and our nation. But we cannot look away. We must work together, and stand by each other, to defeat it.We, as a Board and agency, pledge that we will:
Dr. Pamela Combs