A Note from the CEO – June 5, 2020
Our association has been consistently messaging for over five years that we are in the midst of one of the most transformative periods in our industry in a generation – and we may need to think differently, serve people differently – so that good intentions are implemented in a manner that truly promotes community inclusion. But recent events deliver a chilling reckoning that the people with disabilities and other barriers we serve are not alone among the marginalized, and that more substantive change on a whole new level is required. The killing of George Floyd and the brokenness with which we seem to be surrounded have ripped out my heart and deeply troubled my soul.
Insidious and institutional racism has surfaced again and again – forcing us to confront the fact that for so many, fear of violence and confrontation with loathing has been woven into the fabric of their experience for generations. We are compelled to respond with meaningful action; leaders must be willing to deconstruct cunning, hardened, and unchanging practices and policies, to re-imagine approaches that ensure every citizen of this country can see a pathway to hope, safety and inclusion. The age demands that we immediately examine the very soul of our country, in an attempt to understand why our social construct and its systems and values have allowed for the suffering of so many of our fellow Americans – particularly our Black community members. It has never been more important to listen and learn – to practice empathy, actively contribute to healing, and create community. We all have a role to play in this.
The core values of the Incompass Michigan Team are integrity, persistence, loyalty, and collaboration. Do the right thing, do it relentlessly, remember who we work for, and support each other unconditionally. Our association’s aligned vision is of a statewide network committed to diversity and inclusion, optimal independence and engagement in the community, with enhanced quality and fullness of life. Given the moral compass provided by these foundational values and vision, my commitment as CEO is to humble myself, and seek to live them out more fully – rededicated to addressing injustice and inequity, looking beyond programs and services to help build the sustainable systems and policies that positively impact all members of our community.
Listen, learn, act – with patience, civility, and focused on realization – by doing so, we contribute to a just society in which opportunities for individuals and families, and entire communities, are not determined by perceived differences in ability or the color of their skin.
– Todd Culver, CEO – Incompass Michigan