OCALI's Statement on Racial Justice and Inequality

The following statement is from Shawn Henry, Executive Director, OCALI; Reggie Fields, OCALI Advisory Board Chair; and the OCALI Leadership Team:

“We believe black lives matter.

We believe that working to remove barriers, increase access, and ensure meaningful representation and inclusion are essential components of social justice.

The OCALI team has the privilege of serving people with disabilities, families, educators, and professionals in communities in Ohio and across the world. As we grieve the senseless loss of George Floyd and so many others, we stand in solidarity with those who are once again risking their health and safety to demand accountability and meaningful change.

To inspire lasting change, we must first begin with listening to those who have experienced harm, and work to restore and repair any damage that was caused by our actions or inaction.

In order to end racial inequality and injustice, each of us has a responsibility to center and amplify the experiences and perspectives of those who are the most impacted by systemic racism, inaccessibility, inequality, and injustice - people of color. Disabled African Americans live with the reality of increased risk of the harmful, often fatal effects of racism, considering nearly half of all victims of police violence are disabled.

With little access to comprehensive, disability and trauma-informed medical and mental health care, disabled people of color and their families are often left to navigate a complex system of services and supports alone - which contributes to the public health crisis of racism.

Our mission is and always has been to help remove those barriers, improve access, and ultimately inspire the change needed to address the biggest and most difficult challenges facing our communities today. Now more than ever, that work must continue and evolve to meet the needs of the communities we share and those we live with, love, and support.

Speak, sign, type, write, gesture, or draw - we encourage you to make your voice heard as we all come together to stand for racial equality, access, and justice.”

In the coming weeks and months we will be working to create and share accessible resources to support continued conversations and actions about race, disability, and the ongoing fight for equality. Here are a few you can access today:

Ruderman Family Foundation - White Paper Media coverage of law enforcement use of force and disability

Systemic Racism Explained via ACT.TV

Black, Disabled, and Proud - College Students with Disabilities - The HBCU Disability Consortium

Black Deaf Culture Through the Lens of Black Deaf History

They Work For Us: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Getting Through to your Elected Officials (Plain Language Edition)

All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism LYDIA X. Z. Brown and the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network

So You Want to Talk About Race (Paperback, Hardcover, Audiobook) Ijeoma Oluo

March (Books 1 and 2) John Lewis