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Investing in Inclusion and Supporting Underrepresented Voices

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By: Gennith Johnson, MCD, CCC-SLP, CAE

At CEC, we believe that diversity is not just a concept but a powerful force that drives innovation, creativity, and understanding. By contributing to CEC’s Diversity Fund, you invest in initiatives promoting inclusion, breaking down barriers, and creating a more harmonious society. 

Your support enables us to uplift and amplify the voices of marginalized people. The CEC Diversity Fund actively seeks out members, projects, and initiatives that champion underrepresented communities, ensuring their stories are heard and valued.

CEC’s Diversity Initiatives:

Emerging Special Educators of Color Travel Award: supports racially/ethnically diverse CEC members in their first seven years of service to attend the CEC Convention & Expo. The following are testimonials and stories of past recipients of funding:

  • “I am honored to have been a past recipient of the Diversity Travel Award from CEC. Attending the CEC convention with the support of this funding was truly invaluable for me. It provided me with the opportunity to connect with peers, engage in meaningful discussions, and gain insights that have greatly enriched my professional journey. I am sincerely grateful for the support and encouragement from CEC.”
    • Leonard D.T. Newby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Urban Education, School of Education and Behavior Sciences at Langston University
  • “As a 2021 recipient of the Diversity Travel Award, I was fortunate enough to experience CEC's 100th-year celebration at the annual convention. Being in attendance afforded me the opportunity to witness the past and present history of CEC in person. It was truly memorable to learn from the CEC trailblazers who paved the way to bring about the rewarding privileges and benefits that we enjoy from CEC membership. More importantly, the groundbreaking and tireless work put in to improve the lives of children with disabilities (and their families) will remain timeless and invaluable.”
    • Dr. Kenesta T. Mack, Regional Director of Special Education, Commonwealth Charter Academy
  • “Winning the Diversity Travel Award allowed me to pursue and achieve my goals in creating an inclusive environment within my community’s schools as an educator. Being exposed to different perspectives allowed me to expand on diverse ways to deliver equitable and equal opportunities to all students. It has also provided me an insight of how to plan based on the needs of our students and include different cultural values so that education can be delivered effectively within every domain not as an expectation but as a right.”
    • Erica Cruz, New York Department of Education

Racial Justice Grant: encourages and supports work focused on addressing the issues related to the ongoing racial disparities in educational experiences, opportunities, and outcomes for individuals with disabilities from minoritized racial groups. Grants up to $1,000 are awarded to CEC members for initiatives engaging practitioners, children/youth, families, or other stakeholders to support students with disabilities from minoritized racial groups.

Diversity Leadership Academy: a professional development and mentoring program established for special education professionals from racially diverse/underrepresented groups who share a commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the field of special education.

Join us in building a world where diversity is celebrated and embraced as a source of strength. Together, let's make a lasting impact on the journey toward a more inclusive and equitable future.

Help support CEC’s Diversity Efforts HERE.

Posted:  23 February, 2024

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