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Mindfulness and its Impact to Create Change

A Conversation with American Enterprise Institute’s Gerard Robinson

Gerard Robinson and RespectAbility Fellows standing and seated in a posed photograph, smiling for the camera

Gerard Robinson with RespectAbility Fellows and Staff

Rockville, Md., June 30 – Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute (AEI), visited Respectability to share with Fellows and staff about his experience and interests in education, policy and politics. Robinson discussed what skills he has found helpful throughout his career and his commitment to education.

“Mindfulness” is a concept and important skill for a successful career, according to Robinson. He said any individual who chooses to work in a political environment needs to be mindful or aware of a few key factors: the position that they occupy, the power and duties that come with occupying such position, decisions and actions will impact a community or targeted group, and the attitudes and reactions (negative and positive) that may result from the factors mentioned above.

Gerard Robinson seated at head of brown table with Fellows seated around the other sides listening to him

Gerard Robinson speaking to RespectAbility Fellows

Robinson shared how practicing mindfulness has helped him throughout his career in education and politics. He discussed how it has contributed to his success and growth as an individual. Robinson spent his career committed to improving education at all stages of life, including access to education and empowering various groups to expand their education beyond the K-12 system.

He demonstrated mindfulness while answering questions from RespectAbility Fellows during the Q&A. Robinson delivered a visual representation of how to engage in a discussion where those who are involved may not have the same views or stances, but can have a productive conversation and be respectful of one another. He displayed how a willingness to explore viewpoints opposite or different than one’s own can create a opportunity for individual growth and expand one’s perspective.

Robinson taught us that by practicing mindfulness and being aware, we as advocates challenge ourselves as well as others to explore different perspectives that may not have been previously considered. The result gives us the ability in our careers and future endeavors to create change and have an impact on what is important to us.

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RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. This summer 15 Fellows have the opportunity to learn from a variety of guest speakers. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact BenS@RespectAbility.org for more information.

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Meet the Author

Amelia Heiden
Amelia Heiden

Amelia Heiden is a Policy Fellow. She is a disabled Afro-Latina who has lived with Epilepsy from the age of eighteen months old. Her passion and drive for advocacy and activism stems from her life experiences of overcoming adversity and discrimination as result of her disability, racial-ethnic and cultural background. Heiden graduated from the University of South Dakota and has interned with the Department of Justice at the Federal Bureau of Prisons RDAP (residential drug and alcohol program).

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