This week Americans will elect their next President. We may not know who the winner is on election day--or even within election week. Once a winner is determined, we may not know the impact of that decision for years to come. What we do know is the election turnout will be historic. We also know that the early turnout is also historic and that 1 in 4 of the people that have already voted, didn't vote in the previous, 2016 election.
Election Impacts on Community of Individuals Living with Disabilities
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By Seychelle Martinez McDonald | Updated
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Regardless of who wins the election, there is a lesson in the current voter turnout data. People, many for the first time, feel like the outcome of this election will impact them. Many are aware in a way that historically they have never been. Awareness and perceived impact have driven action.
We find this in our sector as well. People with disabilities are often invisible to the general public--until they are aware, often through an impact to a family member. In my own family, my mother, a 5th grade teacher for as far back as I can remember, sat through hundreds of special education meetings (it's a requirement to have a teacher as a participant in every meeting) with little knowledge of the background of the student on which the meeting focused. It wasn't until after my children were diagnosed with autism and she was immersed in that world that she understood the importance of those meetings and became an active, informed participant in the meetings she was asked to attend.
What can you do locally to increase awareness and impact? What local employers, administrators, educators or politicians could you partner with if they were motivated like the US electorate or my mother? There are many examples of these kinds of successes among Workability International members--if you need inspiration, reach out to some of them. As the business author Tom Peters once put it “Swipe from the best, then adapt.”
Like the election, the outcome of your efforts may not seem immediate. The impact of your actions will not change the world overnight--but the investments you make today will pay dividends over the long term.