My dad was disabled and might not be hired today. Who else are we missing?

10 Feb

In 1941 at the age of seventeen my father, Lenny, was diagnosed with arthritis. He fought the disease valiantly, but complications from the condition took him from us at age sixty-three.

In the forty years of his working life he took over the family clothing store and started other businesses. He was active in many charities, and after he died the United Way in our hometown named the “volunteer of the year” award after him.

He had tremendous empathy for people, including those who experienced hard times. I don’t know if his own pain caused him to be more kind.

But he was kind.

And, by the way, he was an imperfect but awesome dad.

There were many days when he came home and I knew he was in tremendous pain. He had two hip replacements; his first was in the early 1970’s when that was still a rare procedure.

Those barely slowed him down.

~ Are there hiring managers out there today who would give a seventeen-year-old kid with arthritis a chance?

~ Can we look past the disability to see the potential, to see the abilities and possibilities?

~ Could we consider the assets, the perspectives, that people with a disability can bring to an organization?

It’s time for us to create workplaces where folks with disabilities can work, can thrive and, in doing so, help us thrive.

#disability #inclusion #leadership

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