The events of the past weeks have been troubling to say the least. The tragic death of George Floyd while in law enforcement custody is now a clarion call to end the abusive tactics that have led to a long list of similar unacceptable tragedies for too long. We strongly support such actions globally.

Think Globally, Act Locally

Locally, The Arc Mercer has always remained committed to inclusion, respect, and equality. The relationship between disadvantaged or minority communities and law enforcement has much in common with the disabled community. Far too often we see reports of interactions with police that turn deadly with both the black and disabled community. There is no excuse for that in any community.

The Arc Mercer not only represents the individuals with disabilities who frequently are involved with law enforcement interactions that end tragically, we also represent our workforce that is significantly diverse.

We cannot sit by and watch these injustices occur. We depend on our workforce, mostly people of color, to show our disabled residents respect. And they do! As advocates, we cannot remain silent. When our staff suffer injustice we cannot expect them to respect those we serve with disabilities. Respect is reciprocal. When given, it is shared.

The Arc Mercer has always maintained that team strength comes from team diversity. We have a long-instituted “Team Atmosphere Committee” whose mission is to ensure that our agency fosters an environment where every member of our team feels respected, safe, and—most importantly—heard. We strive to create a workplace for people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, and abilities to come together and serve people with developmental disabilities.

While the events of COVID put us off track, these recent social injustices have reminded us that now is the time to bring this committee back to the front and center.

Arc Mercer is renewing its commitment to action. We support global law enforcement reforms for disadvantaged communities worldwide. We also ask all Arc Mercer staff and stakeholders to be more involved with our Team Atmosphere Committee, in what we have been trying to accomplish: to create a workplace where everyone is entitled to safety, respect, and justice.

It is not enough for anyone to simply say that they believe in what is right—they must think globally, but act locally on making it a reality.

Once we are able to host events again, The Arc Mercer will be hosting a Team Atmosphere Committee Rally in order to reopen the floor for discussions on agency-wide inclusivity and equality—we want all of our staff and stakeholders who are able to attend to be there!