June 2nd, 2020
As Executive Director of The Arc of Larimer County, I wanted to express our heartbreak at recent events. The senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others show the very real fear and pain many in our country live with every day.
As a White person, I cannot fully understand the pain and anger Black people & other racial minorities are currently experiencing. As a person with a disability, I have some understanding of the frustration of people being segregated, over-represented in the criminal justice system, and lacking meaningful employment opportunities.
Colorado is home to a well-known protest for the rights of people with disabilities. In 1978, the “Gang of 19” blocked an intersection in Denver and demanded buses be wheelchair accessible. The protesters chanted “We will ride.” This protest ultimately resulted in improvements to the accessibility of Denver’s public transportation system. Like people with disabilities, I suspect those peacefully protesting racial injustice do not desire sympathy, but rather action.
As the Executive Director for The Arc of Larimer County, I feel that we are not immune to the need for a response. Our organizational call to action is to take a long look at ourselves and implement improvements to better provide opportunities for minorities in Larimer County. We will also intentionally focus on practicing empathy and kindness towards others with an understanding that anger and frustration at the lack of equality are valid feelings. We hope you will join us in this.
If you have ideas about how The Arc of Larimer County can better serve any minority group, please reach out to me by email, email@example.com, or phone, 970-204-6991, ext. 21.
– J. Patrick Hackney, JD