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Updated: September 4, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: This one hits home

Since my children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, their futures have occupied an extraordinary amount of my headspace. They are all young (the oldest is 15), and I know they have a lot of time to learn, develop, and become adults. Still, to some degree for each of them, my wife and I will be taking care of our five children for the rest of our lives. The question then occupies my mind: Who takes care of them after we die?

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

Ideally, of course, they would be almost entirely self-sufficient by the time my wife and I pass on, or at least somewhat self-sufficient with community supports. Massachusetts does have some great resources and organizations to help children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities thrive in the community, and we are grateful for that. Still, the main key to being self-sufficient in America is a job, and people with disabilities have an incredibly high unemployment rate. I worry for my children’s futures.

When Staff Writer Timothy Doyle first pitched a story about the disabled workforce for WBJ's annual Diversity & Inclusion special edition, I loved the idea. Since WBJ made its commitment in the summer of 2020 to cover diversity, equity, and inclusion more thoroughly, we have focused primarily on the issues as they impact different racial and ethnic groups, as this remains the most pressing problem in American society and industry. Doyle’s story idea, though, offered a fresh perspective on an often overlooked segment of the population. Plus, the topic hit home for him as well, as his adult sister has a disability and is limited in how much she can work.

Doyle’s story Untapped abilities is part of this edition’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Elsewhere, you’ll find stories on the evolving relationship between Clark University and the Main South neighborhood, the continual struggle of diversity, equity, and inclusion work, and efforts to help startup nonprofits achieve sustainability and inclusivity, as well as the Bonnie J. Walker’s Outside the Box column, where she encourages white men to take a greater role in DEI efforts.

We can’t truly function as a society until people of all backgrounds are given the opportunity to utilize their talents and skills to their highest ability. That future still feels a long way off, but each time we take a step toward greater equity and inclusion, the possibilities become a little brighter.

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