There are two significant threads which underlie The Arc of Massachusetts’ mission. One thread is our mission to achieve “equity across all aspects of society.” This is a pretty tall order. Despite the progress made over the past decades, equity has not been achieved in health care, education, or transportation.
We cannot expect to significantly change this reality unless we work to educate continually and reject discrimination and bias. Individuals, families, and friends must not accept the denial of civil rights for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). This is why communications in social and traditional media have become a priority for us.
This week, WCVB aired a segment about the “HEADs UP” bill, which would establish that individuals with I/DD are a medically underserved population (MUP). Congressman Moulton is a lead sponsor of this federal legislation. It would increase the amount of time physicians and others could spend with those with I/DD, allow forgiveness of educational loans, and establish more funding for community health among other things.
We invest resources so stories such as these appear to the public at large. To achieve equity, we must change attitudes and perceptions. Do you believe as we do that equity is the true goal for you, your family member or friend?
Equity is based on recognizing the self-worth of all individuals. You can advance equity by educating extended family members, neighbors, and co-workers. Together, we can ensure that civil rights for all become a reality.
Leo V. Sarkissian