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OR&R Diversity and Inclusion Committee Event Focuses on Hidden/invisible Disabilities

JULY 27, 2018 — On July 19, 2018, the OR&R Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee sponsored an event focused on hidden/invisible disabilities. 

A panel, made up of six OR&R staff with a wide range of hidden disabilities, shared openly and honestly about how their disabilities impact their professional and personal lives, the strategies and accommodations they've used to adapt, and other insights into living with an invisible disability.  The objectives of the event were to: 

  • Create awareness that we all work closely with someone with a disability, whether we realize it or not;
  • Develop a greater understanding of the types of challenges people deal with, how they adapt, and that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from performing at high level; and 
  • Create a more open and inclusive environment, including providing a greater level of comfort for other OR&R staff with hidden disabilities.

Over 40 OR&R staff and managers from around the country attended the event.  Feedback from the attendees included:

I really do think this was one of the most humanizing events we've had. For every person that shared I'm sure there are many others that feel the same or similar things. It reminds us that we've all got challenges and struggles--some bigger or tougher than others--and that we need to remember this as we interact with each other. 

Truly wonderful.  I was in tears for most of it.  I really appreciate every one's courage to share.

Today's Diversity and Inclusion event was one of the best that I have attended.  It dramatically reinforced the quote from Brad Meltzer, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

The OR&R D&I Committee would like to thank everyone who attended and participated in this event.  We hope you will join us for our next event in September - a panel discussion exploring the diversity of faiths within OR&R (date TBA).

For further information, contact orr.diversity@noaa.gov.

“OR&R strives to build and maintain a diverse, high-performing workforce that includes and empowers all staff and leverages diversity to better reflect the composition of the U.S. civilian labor force, to better serve our communities, increase innovation, and improve decision-making in all aspects of our work.” 

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