Throughout the last couple of years, FISA and many of its grantees have focused on being more intentionally addressing racism and ableism. In January, they reconvened for a progress update. More than 40 individuals attended.
FISA provided an update about some of the changes it has made over the last couple of years, including:
- Strengthening board and committee diversity.
- Build conversations about equity – racial justice or disability access and inclusion – into board meetings.
- Changing the process for how to apply for funding to shift resources to address the needs of people of color with disabilities.
- Strategic planning, including updating FISA’s mission statement to articulate a long term commitment to addressing the intersection of racism to longstanding work addressing the needs of women, girls, and people with disabilities.
- Increased vendor diversity.
- Launched extensive programming on RACE + DISABILITY in 2021
- Convened paid advisory committee of people of color with disabilities.
Participants reported the changes their agencies had made and a panel of people of color with disabilities spoke about the changes they’ve seen in the last couple of years. Some of the themes that emerged included:
- Building an anti-racist and anti-ableist society is a marathon not a sprint.
- Peoples needs vary based on their intersecting identities of race, gender, and disability.
- Disability has been an afterthought in conversations around inclusivity; true inclusivity requires an investment of time and money.
- An inclusive society elevates people of color and people with disabilities to leadership positions, and includes them at all tables where decisions are made.\Racism and ableism remain largely separate conversations, yet both are created and perpetuated by white supremacist culture.