The events of the past four+ years have been a vivid reminder of the racial injustice we face in our communities and in our country, failing to ensure respect, safety, dignity, value, and worth for every person. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Charleena Lyles, Jacob Blake and too many others are a present-day reminder that we continue to fall short in achieving equal treatment for all members of our community, especially for black people, Indigenous people, and all people of color who continue to bear the burden of systemic injustice and racism. For people with disabilities who live at the intersection of race and disability, these injustices persist across identities. Today, members of our Black community and other communities of color continue to experience racism through police brutality, mass incarceration, inequitable education and health services, deportation, and other forms of subjugation. For too long, this country has elevated a story of democracy and freedom while minimizing the impact of violence and oppression on marginalized communities.
The Arc of Washington State’s vision is that all people thrive in nurturing and inclusive communities and are valued members of our communities. It is a vision that we hope to see reflected in the broader society in which we live, and we must start by making sure our own organizational culture realizes this vision. The Arc of Washington State has been striving for over 85 years to ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the same opportunities we all have living in the community. During this time, we have not always seen every member of our community and their intersecting identities. We must do more to ensure that everyone is treated with the compassion, dignity, and the respect they deserve, and over all these years we have never stopped seeking to improve. We acknowledge, respect, and celebrate the attributes and “differences” that make our community stronger, dynamic, and rich with diversity and perspective. We support the practices of justice, liberation, and peace in engaging with each other.
We will continue to support and advance initiatives that address inequities, disparities, and barriers within the overall human service systems we rely on. We will continue to grow – to be better allies, to challenge inequitable policy, to listen, to elevate the voices of the BlPOC community, and to work in partnership every step of the way.
We are committed to creating, internally and with our partners, a culture where each person feels seen, heard, and supported for who they are and how they identify.