January 8, 2021
Open Letter to the NAMRC Membership—
The civil disobedience (a.k.a.) uprising, insurrection, riot, domestic terrorism, etc., which occurred on January 6th at our nation’s capital, has impacted each of us differently depending on our experiences, affiliation and perspective; but has effected everyone similarly in the recognition of its significance for our country. For persons of color, the appearance of an obvious double standard in the treatment of so-called protestors, there is an understandable and justifiable sense of righteous indignation and anger over what was witnessed. For those aligned with the President, there is obviously a frustration over the inability to be heard, in an election they have been convinced was stolen from them.
Clearly, what the events of the day have indicated is that the wounds in this country are deep, the divisiveness is real and severe, and the schisms have the potential to destroy the foundations of democracy. The events of the day, have given rise, to the people of good will, of a common recognition of the need for change. Now is the time to get beyond name calling and blaming, to seek strategies for betterment, and opportunities to find common ground. While retribution and punishment should appropriately be addressed, they do not represent, nor should they be regarded as solutions for the major differences in perspectives, situations and conditions that currently exist in America.
The critical first step in effecting change is recognition that change is necessary. I believe the events of January 6th have enabled us to achieve that essential first step; it has helped to create the opportunity for change. That step must be followed by a willingness among people of good will, to work on it to make it happen. I believe we have those people. Lastly, we need a plan for change, a model and tools to make it happen, and the commitment of resources to make it occur. Each of these, I believe, already exists and we must advocate collectively, assuring the commitment of necessary resources for this important end.
As we in the rehabilitation community move forward, there are two important commitments to be made:
- The acceptance of personal responsibility to help effect change; and all of the personal growth and investment of time that accompanies that commitment,
- An investment in the practice of dialogue; and the openness, active listening, learning and sharing of information that is an integral part of it.
The good news is that we in the NAMRC community have been equipped with an appropriate model for change, the model for helping others attain cultural competence. That basic three step model- self-awareness, increasing knowledge of cultures (others), and developing applications based on that knowledge, provides an appropriate blueprint for moving forward.
We are at the crossroads for change, we have the choice of patching an old road that keeps getting more potholes, or creating a new one to take us in a different direction. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is in the business of creating change and increasing possibilities for all marginalized populations.
In sincere reflection,
L. Robert (Bob) McConnell, DPA
On behalf of the NAMRC Board of Directors