Inclusion, Compassion and Respect: Community Living Ontario’s Statement on Recent Protests

The violent anti-Black racism that has sparked a powerful and widespread response over the past couple of weeks in the United States, Canada and the rest of the world is deeply disturbing.

As a movement that works and advocates with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, we have witnessed the damaging effects that prejudice and de-valuation can have on people’s lives.

Yet we admit, we can do better. We can take these lessons and apply them to how we operate as an organization.

Now, perhaps more than ever, our experiences of de-valuation and the values of inclusion, compassion and respect that we hold should make us important contributors to the changes that must occur not just in our organization, but in our society. Just as importantly, we must be willing to listen to and learn from our Black friends, neighbours, colleagues and people we support.

We recognize the importance of Community Living Ontario being vigilant in avoiding tokenism – the harm it can cause and the false sense of hope it can create for vulnerable people in our sector.

Thus, for our part, we are committed to listening, learning and acknowledging our blind spots. We will talk with our board and our staff about how we can move forward in a truly meaningful way. We will strive to bring a more intersectional lens to our work, one that recognizes that disability, race and other social categories do not operate independent of one another, but instead work in tandem to shape people’s lives. We will do more to amplify Black voices in our movement and validate their experiences. And winvite you to do the same.

As a start, we encourage you to check out this week’s special edition of our Staying Connected section, which provides a number of resources to help you learn and contribute to a future in which we are all truly in this together.

Chris Beesley—CEO, Community Living Ontario

Jill TeeplePresident, Community Living Ontario Board of DIrectors

 


Resources to help you better understand and support the concerns of Black communities during this time.