Happy New Year! … I hope 2015 has started off well for you.
As we begin a new year on the calendar, I want to take the opportunity to share with you, a few brief thoughts for 2015: a New Year’s Resolution of sorts.
For the first and hopefully last time in my life, I’m going to quote George W. Bush. In a speech to the NAACP, he once referred to “the soft bigotry of low expectations”. To me, this describes where we are at in 2015, with respect to societal attitudes towards people with an intellectual disability. Prejudice may not be as overt as it once was; it may have gone “soft”, but it is still pervasive.
If we are to change these attitudes, we must promote the notion of “presumed competence”. Presume that everyone has abilities, skills and gifts to share. Presume that we each want to share our unique abilities, skills and gifts and presume that we all need support to be our best and to reach our potential.
Every year, each of us in the Community Living movement must renew our resolve to move the yard stick forward in the areas of community living that most affect our daily lives: where we live, where we go to school, what employment opportunities are available, and what opportunities exist to build friendships. By working together in these areas, we will make steady progress towards true inclusion.
Most New Year’s Resolutions are doomed to fail very shortly after they’ve been made. I believe most would have a much better chance of being successful if they were re-cast as ‘New Day Resolutions’. A whole year seems daunting and too much to tackle. So let’s take each day as a new chance to be successful in making small inroads towards inclusion. Together, we will turn 365 ‘New Day Resolutions’ into an amazing year.
On behalf of our Board and our incredible staff, I thank you for your continued partnership and support.