For years we have been told that we should have “racial tolerance” which bled into other areas of “tolerating” others who were different than us. Personally, I think it is wrong to “tolerate” because not only does it pit people against each other, we don’t grow forward. Besides, who decides that one group is better than another? When we accept others for who they are, we have greater opportunities to grow forward with them and make this world a better place. It doesn’t have to mean we condone what they are doing or not doing, but we learn to walk alongside them and do life together.
However, as I often like to say, we can’t give what we don’t have. So, if we don’t feel accepted in our own story, we probably won’t give the acceptance someone else needs.
A few months ago I had a conversation with someone in the LGBTQ community and I was able to share that in the past I wasn’t able to accept him, only to learn in my own story (back then) that I wasn’t accepting myself in a lot of areas, I was tolerating myself. Once I was able to realize that, I was able to freely offer that to him and others in my story. I believe that tolerance has a way of dividing us while acceptance has a way of uniting us. The truth will always come out and when we live a life of tolerance, something will push us over the edge and show our true colours. (pun intended)
As I continue to encourage others to stop tolerance and embrace acceptance, I had the privilege to meet Tabitha Pope, a Director of Disability at Nazarene University in Oklahoma, USA.
Born and raised in central Oklahoma, Tabitha earned a BS degree in Psychology and a MS degree in Religious Education from Oklahoma City University. Her entire career is within the field of disability, coupled with her personal story, she brings a unique perspective and enriches the D&I conversation; challenging the status quo to dismiss the crux of inclusion due to shame and stigma.
Tabitha brings a unique perspective to the topic of intersectionality and agency. Her intent is to promote awareness, inclusion, accessibility, and advocacy for people with disabilities with practical and applicable steps for businesses. She is currently a Disability Director at a university in Oklahoma, USA, and has years of experience working with individuals who have physical, mental, and/ or learning disabilities. Disability can and does negatively impact people on the job and in learning. Her passion and her “why”, is to provide businesses and individuals with facts about disability and discrimination, so that they can make informed decisions that promotes peace, equity, and social justice for all.
“Today the terms diversity & inclusion dominate discussions across the globe, but somehow disability is always dropped and left undiscussed? Unlike other categories of human experience, disability crosses all lines of gender, orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic position, age, and culture. People with typical minds and bodies can be thought of as temporarily able- bodied because disabilities can happen at any time to anyone. Research studies and personal experience show indisputable findings, companies that embrace diversity benefit with the inclusion of disability.” –Tabitha Pope
Feel free to contact her with any questions you might have or resources you are interested in regarding disability and how to improve your skill of acceptance in that area.
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tabithapope47/
Here’s to Growing Forward Together!!