After seeing a segment on a local news channel encouraging Mayor Mike Duggan to exercise emergency powers, there’s one phrase that comes to mind.vulnerableAt its final meeting in 2022, the Detroit City Council rejected a $49 million paratransit resolution. Almost 1,000 citizens with disabilities who depend on this service every day are stuck because this law was not passed.
The segment made excellent use of pathos, hitting the masses with its proverbial guts and setting up bureaucracy for attention. The mayor’s office quickly intervened, brushing aside real concerns about violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. (The city is under investigation by the Justice Department for possible civil rights violations.) In January 2023, those who need transportation will be able to get it. But how much does it cost?
Advocacy is the practice of empathy. When does compassion cross the line and pity? Tariff? Indifferent? For those affected by the support, does the support they receive change society’s perception of them for the better?
My knee-jerk reaction? No, not just because people don’t want to help, they do. It is because of how those who depend on their intervention are portrayed by the media and viewed by society.
News segments featuring people with disabilities are a perfect example of this unfair and unfortunate exploitation. Members of this group appear weak and helpless. Victims cannot live a full life without the interference of the world they must rely on to recover from horrific situations.
This cost to the population can be substantial. They may meet an immediate need, but are they really encouraged by the help they receive? Or are they still viewed as objects of pity and contempt? Do they remain suspended in the subconscious of society as their status in life is not equal to what they can contribute?
To prove that the problem exists, there must be a need. And to demonstrate that desire, those directly affected must prove that their lives will not be better if their problems are not resolved. and low underemployment rate.
In 2021, 19.1% of the 61 million people with disabilities in the United States were employed, up from 17.9% the year before, and about 63.7% of people without disabilities had regular jobs. Thanks to social security benefits, millions of people have been kept above the poverty level in 2021. Imagine what the work landscape would look like if people with disabilities who could and wanted to work were able to find paid employment.
In October 2022, there were 10.3 million job openings. Since half of the current disabled population is over the age of 65 and does not include all available jobs, what would this number look like if employers hired more people from the disabled community? Think about how it will decrease.
While not new, 2020 saw the start of the core business concept of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Job listings for those positions increased by 123% in less than six months that year.
Some members of the disabled community have found employment with companies that implement DEI. However, my own experience was not so positive. At one point, I had to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission when an employee’s rights were violated. That issue has been resolved, but that experience, and other frustrating ones, made me realize that employees really want to be fully inclusive and diverse rather than just whispering to minorities and advocacy group members. I wondered if there were any.
It’s not enough for companies to use the “correct” language on their career pages. They need to track down and recruit people from all backgrounds instead of suddenly responding that the position is filled or not contacting them at all after the disability becomes apparent. .
Are companies not ready to work with people with disabilities? Or are they simply unwilling to care, believing they will have to waste a lot of time training? Are you worried about how to respond, or is it about solving potential problems they think exist? If so, contact the applicant and ask.
Should the responsibility for this low unemployment rate rest with national occupational bodies instead? Expectations of program participants should be held to the highest standards. Manuals of policies and procedures should not be obsolete and obsolete. And to dispel myths about disability and employment, we can reach out to both small businesses and large corporations and campaign to make them aware of the benefits of hiring members of this community. increase.
Next time you see news clips or infomercials depicting people in need or helplessness, set aside your negative thoughts and feelings. These people do not need or want your sympathy. They simply want a fair chance to prove their competence and want to be treated fairly without prejudice or ignored and canceled for being disabled.
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