Happy Friday, Enjoy this Beautiful May Weekend!

What is Inclusion?

PILR’s Mission statement is “to achieve the full inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities through education and advocacy.” This is something we strive for every day, but what does “inclusion” mean? The dictionary definition of inclusion states “the action or state of being included within a group or structure.”

At a recent training that I attended, I asked a few other participants how they would define inclusion. There was a woman who said she felt like her family member, who gained a disability later in life, was most included when he was around other people with disabilities similar to his. Another comment was made regarding inclusion being anything that makes someone feel included.

We feel like the action of inclusion is more than the dictionary definition. It is a universal human right that all people regardless of race, gender, disability, or any discernible quality to promote a sense of belonging, respect, and value for who you are as a person. It is about equal access and opportunities to everyone. We can do this by removing discrimination, stereotypes, and other societal barriers.

Young people with disabilities are less likely to receive a quality education and become a part of the workforce. There is still a stigma around the word “disability” which causes many people to feel shame about themselves, make them feel like their choices don’t matter, or that their life doesn’t have value.

Together, we need to shift this perception. Disability does not equal inability, for some people it’s the use of assistive technology, for others it’s sitting not standing, maybe its braille menus and accessible entrances for restaurants. Disability only means doing something a little different, something a little personal, and something unique.

-Karrlita F.

What is inclusion to you?