Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The 'Other' for Far Too Long

California has been at the forefront of our country's drive to embrace its diversity. When people talk about promoting diversity, they usually are referring to people of varying race, religions, or sexuality living peacefully side by side in society. A truly diverse society embraces everyone for both their differences and their similarities, with the understanding that people are people. The reward for this inclusion is great: The more cohesion a community has, the stronger and more productive the community.
But, there is one population that has often been left out of this tapestry of diversity that we have all worked so hard to weave. Even in these progressive times, there is a group of people, labeled "developmentally disabled," that are often still treated as second-class citizens because they are "different." Unfortunately most people with developmental disabilities are tolerated, but not embraced as assets to our community. At best, they are treated as special guests or welcomed visitors. At worst they are ignored or actively discriminated against.

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