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Statement in Support of Diversity and Inclusion

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Position Statement of AAIDD

The core mission and principles of the AAIDD include the promotion and assurance of full human rights for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the provision of accommodations needed to expand full participation in all aspects of life, and actions to enhance positive attitudes and public awareness of the contributions of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In their joint position statement on Civil and Human Rights, AAIDD and the Arc of the US hold that “all are entitled to human and civil rights regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, cultural, linguistic, geographic, and spiritual diversity, economic status, severity of disability, intensity of needed supports, or other factors that expose them to increased risk of rights violations.”

AAIDD holds that these fundamental civil and human rights are important to all people with disabilities and, indeed, to all people. Moreover, we recognize that the civil and human rights for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are inherently connected to a society’s respect for diversity and the civil and human rights for all of its people. People with disabilities, along with groups marginalized according to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds are too often subject to negative attitudes, stereotypes, discrimination and violence.

We recognize that our advocacy for full human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and increased recognition of their contributions to our communities and societies must go hand in hand with honoring the same rights and contributions of diverse people of all racial and cultural backgrounds. There cannot be one without the other, for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are represented in every racial, cultural, ethnic, and religious group in this country and around the world.

We are fully committed to our vision of a future where individuals and communities include and respect both difference and sameness, strengths and weaknesses, and the gifts of all who yearn for an equal and just society. We affirm the importance of recognizing our oneness as human beings amid diversity and condemn hatred and violence toward any individual or group who appears to be different. In every community, we support, celebrate and call for all Americans to uphold these truths and to remember who we are as “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” People with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and friends have important gifts to bring to this common task. As professionals, we commit ourselves to joining and supporting them and others in this challenge and opportunity.


AAIDD Board of Directors
September 13, 2017

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