A New Perspective
By Jackie Lance, Community Support Facilitator at Hope Services
Just imagine if you bought a bag of skittles and when you opened it up all there was just the grape flavor.
How would you feel? There would be no excitement, right?
Wouldn’t you prefer a bag with grape, and cherry, and orange, and lemon?
Imagine if you were working on educating the community on the importance of vaccines.
Wouldn’t it be better to work with a team that spoke 15 languages rather than a team that only speaks two?
Now, think of where you work. Think of the different kinds of people you work with everyday, and the different perspectives they bring.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is not only more exciting and beautiful, it also helps communities function better.
Diversity is involving people from a range of different backgrounds and characteristics, including race, culture, gender, age, disability, and other factors.
Inclusion is the practice of welcoming all kinds of diverse individuals to take part in what the collective is doing, and not discriminating against people for their differences.
Equity is equipping individuals in a way in which everyone has a fair chance at success. If you have $300 to buy school supplies for Sarah, Alia, and Marco, you may think its fair to give each child $100. But equity is recognizing that Alia and Marco’s parents were able to buy all their text books, and Sarah has to go to the library to use textbooks. Therefore, equity might be giving Sarah $200 and the other two students $50 each.
I remember when I started my employment at Hope Services. I was so nervous because I have never worked with the population that I have fallen in love with. I remember I was working on a project with my client at a job site. I was so upset with myself because I messed up on the project rotation. My client touched my hand and said “It’s okay to mess up, I mess up all the time, it’s just part of learning”.
Over my 15 years of working at Hope Services, I learn from my clients every day. They all have taught me that I can do anything; all you need to have is confidence, determination, and self-love. This population of people with Special Needs can teach all communities in all areas of life about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in and out of the work place.
It is important to be able to stand up and speak out, sharing our ideas, opinions, and experiences just as it is to welcome the ideas, opinions, and experiences of others; creating an environment of safety, understanding, and patience.
Let’s work towards appreciating one another’s contributions.
About the writer
Jackie Lance (she/her/hers) has been employed at Hope Services for over 15 years, and has worked across the organization in Independent Living Services, Supported Employment, now in Direct Services as a Community Support Facilitator. She is also a member of Hope Services’ DEI committee and is passionate about teaching the individuals she serves about healthy relationships, work ethics, and social skills.