Article- September 20

Why You Should Embrace Diversity & Reject Discrimination

by Carrie Greenwood, Program Coordinator

DIVERSITY. DISCRIMINATION. How often do you think about these two words? Maybe you are someone who thinks about them all of the time because they affect you on a daily basis. Or, maybe you don’t think about them much until something comes up in the news or on Facebook that involves these topics. The truth is… these words are a huge part of our world, and EVERYONE should think deeply about how these words impact YOUR life. So, go ahead, take a few moments to think about those words and how they play a part in your everyday life… I’ll wait :).

At KYEA, we talk about diversity all the time. Obviously, our specialty and focus area is on people with disabilities, and this is a part of diversity. But, diversity includes so many aspects of a person: race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, economic status, upbringing and culture, personality, etc. I’ve said this a billion times before, but diversity is what makes our world and nation interesting. How boring would it be if we were all the same? But, think about this… are you accepting of all diversity? You should be. I would guess that, if you are reading this article, you are impacted by disability in some way, and you probably feel that people with disabilities should be accepted and have equal rights. If this is the case for people with disabilities, then shouldn’t it be that way for all populations of people? Shouldn’t all people have equal rights, be treated with respect, and have every opportunity that everyone else does? Diversity is diversity. Equal rights are equal rights. As long as someone is respecting the law, they should be embraced and treated as an equal human being.

There has been a lot in the news lately about discrimination and injustices related to people who are black indigenous people of color (BIPC). Do you think this affects you? It absolutely does! First, you probably understand discrimination if you are a person with a disability. You may have experienced it first-hand. While you might not be able to identify with the brutality that the BIPC community faces, you may at least have an understanding of what it’s like to be treated unfairly and maybe even have your life threatened. Because of this, you should be a part of the solution. Which leads to the second point. What’s happening in our nation affects you because you can change it. Yes, little ‘ol you! Getting rid of discrimination and hatred starts by each of us thinking about our own attitudes toward people who are different from us. I’ll just throw these questions out there… are you racist? Do you consider everyone equal? Have there been situations where you thought less of someone because of their skin color or even their sexual orientation or how much money that they have? Really think about these questions. Be honest with yourself. And then, get up and be a part of the solution. Educate yourself about those who are different from you. Makes friends with people who are different from you. Don’t just be okay with the fact that people who are different are being killed just because they are different.

So, yes, this does affect you. Discrimination is everywhere, sadly. As a part of the disability community, you HAVE to be a part of the solution. Do one thing today that shows that you embrace and celebrate differences. If nothing else, read this newsletter, really think about it, and learn. That could just be your first step.