From the CEO
If you have been to the AWS Foundation office this year, you have surely noticed our giant Big Bird in the lobby. Since last November, he has been in the company of Dart and Ada, celebrating each passing holiday. He came to us through the generous contribution of PBSTV 39 after his attendance at the Festival of Trees in 2021.
‘Why Big Bird?’ you may ask.
Who doesn’t love Big Bird’s perspective of the world that he shares on Sesame Street? It is with the innocence of a child that Big Bird questions and, in doing so, teaches. For years we have learned about fairness from him. We have learned about everyone taking a turn and everyone deserving respect. From the first episode in 1969 Sesame Street has tackled challenging topics. They helped children label emotions from fear after 9/11 to grief when Mr. Hooper died. Big Bird showed us, through his relationship with Oscar, to accept people monsters, as they are.
A few years ago, Big Bird introduced us to his cousins from around the world. Each are canary birds, like Big Bird, but have feathers of different colors. In meeting his cousins who were not big and yellow but big and green or pink, he taught all who watched about diversity. His Brazilian cousin, Garibaldo, was deep blue with intense eyebrows and looked so different (some said possessed) that he was frightening to some.
Big Bird is in our lobby to help share his teachings on diversity because we know that disability is diversity.
Diversity in Media
by: Joni Schmalzried
I, like Patti, loved watching Sesame Street grow, and I cherish what it has taught generations of children (and probably some adults). My son grew up watching Sesame Street and Mister Rogers, who modeled diversity and inclusion before it was ever discussed or expected. TV has been taken over by so many other options by 2023. Not that those programs don’t provide important social and emotional stories and lessons – many do. There was just something about watching a show like Sesame Street that helped us grow in our understanding of differences, neighborhood, and acceptance.
Seeing diversity represented in the shows that young children watch, and the books that they read, is critical. Kids often see diversity on TV or in a book long before they see it in real life. So, what are kids watching today and how is diversity and inclusion being represented?
Sesame Street started the conversation for some of the articles in this newsletter, so acknowledging the growth of disability representation is important. Four years ago, Julia (who has autism) joined the Sesame Street neighborhood. More recently, Ameera, who has a spinal cord injury joined the ever-growing and diverse cast.
Inclusion and Equity Begin with Intersectionality
by: Mandy Drakeford
Growing up in a small town in Northwest Ohio, I experienced life in a very homogeneous community. As I grew older, I wanted to learn and grow, so I decided to attend the University of Cincinnati in a “big city” with hundreds of thousands of people who were not like me. My favorite courses included my Women’s Studies and African American History courses, which taught me about history and ideas not shared in middle or high school.
I’ve carried those teachings with me throughout my adult life, and I’ve often reflected on the idea of intersectionality. It’s a concept I’ve considered and thought about more often while advocating for people with disabilities.
More than 30 years ago, Kimberlé Crenshaw, American civil rights advocate and law professor at Columbia Law School and UCLA School of Law, developed the term intersectionality to explain the interconnectedness of people’s social identities. Over the last 15 years, intersectionality has started to show up in disability studies and conversations about disability rights.
In a video featured by the Ford Foundation, Keri Gray, CEO of the Keri Gray Group, explains how people with disabilities with intersections of other marginalized groups experience increased systemic discrimination. Gray advises organizations and institutions on intersectionality and how race, gender, and disability impact the workplace.
You may be wondering about the name of our newsletter. Patti gave a history of the name and its meaning for our organization. You can read all about it here.
Are you a Family Caregiver of an individual with a disability?
The Center for Health Equity at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University Bloomington wants to hear from family caregivers of individuals (minor or adult) with disabilities living in Indiana, about their mental health experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center is inviting family caregivers to complete a brief online survey. The results will help them better understand the mental health needs of family caregivers. This study is funded by the Administration for the Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
All responses will be released as part of group summaries, and individual responses will remain anonymous. The entire survey should take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
To participate in the online survey, click on the following link: https://go.iu.edu/4Mo9
If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Jae Chul Lee at (812) 855-6508 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Don Dumayas at (812) 855-2894 (email@example.com).
Manage your preferences | Opt Out using TrueRemove™
Got this as a forward? Sign up to receive our future emails.
View this email online.
5323 W Jefferson Blvd. | Fort Wayne, IN 46804 US
This email was sent to .
To continue receiving our emails, add us to your address book.