#AdvocacyMatters: Reflecting Our Community

January 19, 2024 / #AdvocacyMatters

Ohio – all 40,800 square miles of it – is incredibly diverse. From big, booming cities to tiny villages, and from the flat plains farm communities to the foothills of the Appalachians, Ohio’s population is comprised of a broad array of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, orientations, socio-economic statuses, and cultures. The most prevalent thread that ties all these different identities and communities together, is that disabilities – and the awareness, support, and challenges that go along them – are found everywhere. When striving to engage with and serve a population this large, it’s pivotal to understand as best as possible the ways to develop meaningful, and trustworthy relationships. The most authentic way to achieve this understanding is through lived experience. The organization – and its leadership – should reflect the population.

Disability Rights Ohio recently underwent a diversity review and planning process for our Board of Directors. This process resulted in the creation of Board Diversity Plan – a blueprint to guide us towards a more inclusive and diverse board. The plan calls for the inclusion of perspectives representing Ohio’s range of geography, ethnic and racial backgrounds, socioeconomic status, variety of disability experiences and types, LGBTQIA+ community experience, diverse gender identities, and lived experience in an institutional or incarcerated setting. This diversity will help us recognize and better meet the needs of all Ohioans with disabilities, including those who are most disconnected from the disability service system and may not know about our organization and what we do.

We are wrapping up the first board recruitment cycle under this new diversity plan, and are excited to see the beginnings of a more inclusive and reflective Board of Directors. With lived experience and understanding at the core of what we do, these changes will help expand our reach, enrich our understanding, and maximize our impact. #AdvocacyMatters

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