United Way partners with Disability Network for Disability Equity Challenge

United Way is partnering with Disability Network of Mid-Michigan, Michigan Association of United Ways to present the 21-Day Disability Equity Challenge.

This statewide effort to explore disability from a position of equity and pride is designed to raise awareness, increase understanding and change the perspective on disability in our culture.

“Action starts with awareness and understanding,” said Beth Sorenson Prince, advocacy director at United Way of Midland County. “We invite our community to join us in this challenge to learn, understand and take action to help raise awareness. We ask participants to engage fully in this challenge, adding to the conversation about creating a safe and equitable community for our neighbors with disabilities.

The challenge will be held from August 1-26, with a virtual summit on August 30. This challenge is open to the community and United Way encourages everyone to consider participating. To learn more and register for the challenge, community members can visit the United Way website and search for “21 Day Disability Equity Challenge.”

“Change and impact start at the individual level,” said Holly Miller, President and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “By expanding the conversation and raising awareness of the importance of disability equity, we can better understand the experiences of people with disabilities. Learning and understanding will help us work together and take action to improve our workplaces, our communities and the lives of our neighbours.

The challenge is entirely virtual and 100% free. United Way shared that the experience will deepen understanding, suggest ways to take action, and help launch what they hope will be a lifelong commitment to improving equity and inclusion in our community.

• Each weekday, August 1-26, attendees will receive an email with links to recommended articles, videos, podcasts, and more.
• Each email includes a thought-provoking question in the form of a journal prompt – participants are encouraged to write down their thoughts, feelings, questions, etc. to use as talking points at the virtual summit on August 30
• Daily topics will include: ableism, history of the disability justice movement, intersectionality, language, accessibility, systemic inequalities for people with disabilities, alliance and disability pride

“Disability Network of Mid-Michigan is proud and honored to serve as a resource for the Great Lakes Bay Area,” said Kelly PeLong, executive director of the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan. “We are delighted to offer the Disability Equity Challenge, reinforcing our commitment to creating accessible and inclusive communities.

The challenge will be launched jointly with the latest episode of the ALICE in Focus research series from the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) and research partner United For ALICE. It presents data to highlight the realities of people living with disabilities in Michigan.

“The data from this new Spotlight report will be helpful in informing the decisions we make as a community when developing programs that impact people with disabilities,” Miller said. “As an organization, we are committed to furthering this research, while continuing to listen to members of this population to understand how we can support them. It is not our role to prescribe solutions, but to walk alongside our neighbors to know the obstacles that prevent them from thriving.

ALICE in Focus is a national research series using the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) through the lens of the ALICE measures – household survival budget and the ALICE threshold.

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