President and CEO
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”Audre Lorde
The Access Living staff and community, like so many of you, grieve the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and others by police officers and white supremacists. We condemn the ongoing blatant racism laid bare this week through multiple examples, such as what happened to Christian Cooper while birdwatching in Central Park.
White supremacy, and the collective legacy of white privilege, cannot be allowed to stop us all from creating the world we need. We must support and nurture Black and Brown people in all of our communities. At Access Living, we strive to go about our work in the disability movement each day conscious that white privilege and white supremacy have long affected the shaping of our nation. We continue to evolve in our efforts to stand up for racial justice, and ensure that people of color are at the center of our fight.
Most of the people who come to us for direct services are disabled people of color; it is our job to address systemic barriers of all kinds. We see disabled people of color being more likely to be funneled into jails or institutional settings; to have less opportunity for housing; to be less likely to be employed; to have more barriers to quality healthcare and community supports. For us, race and disability are deeply connected life experiences.
At this pivotal moment, we recommit ourselves to anti-racism and breaking down white privilege. We are thankful to engage every day in the work of supporting racial justice organizing, reducing jail incarceration of people with disabilities, providing accessible affordable housing and much more to improve the lives of those in Black and brown communities.
We are grateful for the leadership of our staff, board members and community activists who work diligently to fight for our freedom. We urge our allies, both advocates and service providers, to issue similar statements of solidarity against racism, because racism hurts us all. The national convening organization for Centers for Independent Living, the National Council on Independent Living, has issued this statement specifically on police violence.
We cannot allow ongoing racism to be the permanent status quo of our country. Too many lives depend on it.
Today we speak out in solidarity… we see you… and we grieve with you. #SayTheirNames #BlackLivesMatter