By Robyn Kaufman
Boone County Family Resources, Executive Director
Boone County Family Resources stands in solidarity with our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and community in the fight against racism and injustice. Our hearts are filled with sadness and grief for George Floyd and so many others before him whose lives were undermined by inequity and needlessly lost as a direct result of racism and brutality.
Our mission is to enable persons with developmental disabilities to thrive in the community, connect with others and achieve their personal goals. In this work, we recognize the disproportionate challenges faced by black individuals with disabilities and their families as they seek to thrive, connect, and achieve.
Statistics have repeatedly shown that students of color are four times more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than white students and students with disabilities are two times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their non-disabled peers. This can impact the future of many black youth with disabilities as research has determined there is over a 50% probability they will be arrested by the time they reach their late 20’s. We have been working with People First of Boone County over the past year and a half on their School to Prison Pipeline project to change these statistics. While this is one example of actions we have taken to move in the right direction—we realize there is much more to do and the importance of ongoing reassessment of the steps we need to take.
Boone County Family Resources is committed to:
LISTEN – to our employees, persons served, other stakeholders and our community as to how we can remove bias and become an ally.
EDUCATE – find, read and share resources to increase our understanding and help confront and eliminate our own implicit bias. Enhance our ongoing staff training in bias and cultural competency.
ACT – Identify and act on those issues we know will make a positive change. Become leaders speaking up against racism and supporting policy change and education.
We have created an Advisory group on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to provide suggestions and guidance on our next steps. We want to know what the agency is currently doing right, how we can do better, and how we can measure success going forward. We have also created an area to share resources and information for our employees to increase their understanding and eliminate bias. We are incorporating related topics into our staff meetings and participating in the United Way Equity Challenge. This opportunity is open to anyone in the community and we invite you to join us on this journey. You can learn more and enroll here.
We believe black lives matter and everyone has a responsibility to advocate for equity, fight injustice and racism, and create an inclusive community. Together we can make positive changes–we hope you join us in our commitment to making our community and world a better place.