At RespectAbility, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (collectively, DEIA), is a core tenet of our work. It is essential in achieving our mission to fight stigmas and advance opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.
We are a “Nothing About Us Without Us” organization. This means we are led by disabled people and promote disabled leadership on all issues that impact our lives and community. Disabled people are experts on their lived experience, and these experiences inform and guide RespectAbility’s advocacy.
Disability is one of many identities. We acknowledge that disability intersects with other identities, and that for many marginalized groups and communities, there is a higher representation of disability. We honor and respect the intersectional identities within the disability community.
Bias, stigma, and discrimination that harm people with disabilities can be compounded by other factors, including race, ethnicity, immigration status, veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. While we advocate for the disability community as a whole, we prioritize the needs, priorities, and experiences of disabled people who are multiply marginalized.
RespectAbility is against all forms of discrimination, including racism, ableism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and prejudice of all kinds. Our work strives to be deeply inclusive of all disabled people and their allies, with an emphasis on those who face intersectional barriers to equity and inclusion.
We recognize the importance of going beyond transactional diversity initiatives to transformational organizational and societal change. We are working to build an organization and contribute to a society where lived experiences of those with marginalized identities are centered, valued, and respected. This means we work to dismantle systems of oppression and their effects within and outside of the disability community.
We’re working to create an accessible, equitable, and inclusive organization, inside and out. For us, this means continually reflecting on our commitment to equity and how we put this into practice.
So far in our journey, we’ve made great strides in incorporating intersectionality as a critical lens across our work. Internally, we’ve made important changes to our policies, practices, and procedures to center equity. In partnership with our Staff and Board, we are actively building an organizational culture of inclusion and belonging. We’ve also started work on a new DEIA strategy, to guide the organization’s work for many years to come.
While we are proud of our renewed commitment and growth, we know we have not always lived our values and commitment to DEIA. This has caused harm within and outside of our organization. We are working to take accountability and repair that harm.
As we continue our journey, we invite input and outreach from any individual, group, or organization that may have experienced harm. We appreciate any opportunity to learn from these perspectives and experiences. To share your experience or learn more about ways we are putting equity into action, please complete this anonymous form or email RespectAbility’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Ariel Simms: ArielS@RespectAbility.org.
Below you will find a chart summarizing the identities of RespectAbility’s Staff, executive leadership, Board members, and leadership program participants. Representation is one way we measure our progress in our ongoing journey.
|Organization Level + number||People of Color||White||Disability||LGBTQIA+||Women/Non-Binary||Men/Male-Identifying|
|Senior Staff (7)||43%||57%||71%||43%||57%||43%|
|Fellows (229 alumni)||46%||54%||90%||22%||62%||38%|