A statement from LADD and the OTR International Film Festival on Racism, Justice and Inclusion

June 8, 2020

At LADD we are guided by the belief that all people have ability and value.

Through our work to empower adults with developmental disabilities we see the damaging effects of systemic discrimination and oppression. Disability transcends race, gender, faith, class, and sexuality and has the power to unite us through our shared humanity. As such, we are building a world where dignity, respect, and equal opportunity prevail. And so it is that we must speak up and speak out as our black neighbors, friends, families, employees, and communities are devalued and victimized by deadly violence.

It took people without disabilities to stop the horrors of forced institutionalization of people with disabilities. It will take all of us to help stop the racial injustices being experienced today. LADD and the OTR International Film Festival vow to work against racism and bigotry and stand with all those demanding a more just and equitable world across our nation. The pathway to a brighter, more just tomorrow must be fully accessible and wide enough to include us all.

We have a long way to go, but as we strive to live our values, here are some things we are doing to become a more inclusive and equitable organization:

1. We continue to foster empathy, understanding and connection across difference by hosting the OTR International Film Festival with a mission to provide a platform for stories left unseen in mainstream media.

2. We continue to talk to our teams about race and the impact racism has on their daily lives. We are asking our employees of color how we can support and validate their life experiences. We are providing free counseling should that be requested.

3. Last year we formed a board-level Equity & Inclusion Committee to develop goals around equity and inclusion. The committee is currently establishing benchmarks. LADD’s CEO will report directly to the committee and board on progress towards those goals and will keep our entire community informed.

4. LADD hired an outside cultural and inclusion consultant in January to oversee an assessment of our policies and practices and assess how inclusive our culture is. This consultant will work with us to not only make recommendations related to a more inclusive culture, but will also assist the CEO in executing on those recommendations and creating tools to measure progress.

5. LADD continues to work closely with police departments across the state of Ohio to provide training around safe policing of people with developmental disabilities.