In the US, July is Disability Pride Month. It marks the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark U.S. rights law that extended civil rights protections to persons with disabilities and assured that all Americans would benefit from their talents. There are an estimated 1 billion people with disabilities worldwide. Their contributions benefit us all.
During July, several cities hold parades to recognize this community. There is a disability flag to help increase the visibility of this community. The five diagonal stripes rest on a black background. The black field mourns the victims of violence and abuse against persons with disabilities and the diagonal suggests cutting across barriers that separate the disabled from society. The flag’s five colors represent different types of disabilities: red (physical disabilities), gold (neurodivergence), white (invisible and undiagnosed disabilities), blue (psychiatric disabilities) and green (sensory disabilities).
At Presbyterian Senior Living, we value the diversity that everyone brings as we foster a sense of inclusion and belonging. For us, this means that our communities strive to be open and accessible to everyone. This feeling of belonging begins with understanding that not everyone who has a disability is one dimensional.
Sometimes people can forget that a person with a disability is first and foremost a person with desires, talents, skills, heartache and loss, just like everyone else. We strive to look at the similarities in all of us and not focus on what a person’s visible or non-visible traits are; we focus on the interest that we have in common.
Acknowledging, understanding, and embracing everyone in this community benefits us all; as disability touches every demographic category – gender, age, race, sexual orientation, culture, etc. and impacts most people eventually through aging, illness or accident. Although certain disabilities are obvious because they require the use of a wheelchair or have noticeable physical attributes; there are many disabilities, including those related to learning, attention, mental health, or chronic pain, that are invisible. The goal within Presbyterian Senior Living is to make all residents and team members comfortable in sharing their disabilities without fear of the stigma attached. This is truly a sign of belonging.
We celebrate the contributions that the residents and team members of this community bring to Presbyterian Senior Living.
PSL’s Cultures and Values give assurance of our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, through ensuring that all stakeholders feel that they belong. By lifting up voices and people, we will create an organization where all stakeholders feel that they are of value. As part of this commitment PSL formed Culture Champions within each community and location within the organization. Culture Champions are PSL representatives empowered with leading the movement of living and teaching our values while embracing DEI initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. As the Corporate Director of Education and Development and DEI Officer, LaJeune Adams is one of the PSL leaders that supports and works directly with the Culture Champions. LaJeune has worked with Presbyterian Senior Living for over 16 years in the roles of Human Resources Manager and Area Human Resources Director prior to her current role.