by Peggy R. Garrett, chair, Multicultural Affrais Committee
The American Council of the Blind is one of the most diverse organizations in the United States, if not in the world. Members include men, women, and children of all ages and many different races, religions, education and economic levels. This diversity creates a vast pool of experience, talents and knowledge from which ACB can draw to train, mentor and develop future leaders to ensure a strong future ACB.
One of the most important features of any organization is its members. However, one of the most difficult problems for most organizations is retention. One of the biggest reasons why members are lost is because they are not made to feel that they are important to the organization. Inclusion is what keeps members interested, and it is also what makes people want to contribute. When a person feels that his or her voice and opinions are important, they will work harder for that organization. When a member is encouraged to give of his/her time and specific talents, he or she feels that they have an investment in that organization and are more likely to remain. These members are also more likely to encourage others to join.
However, when members, especially minorities, are not encouraged to participate or not included in leadership roles, the organization suffers not only the loss of members, but also more importantly, the loss of the wisdom, knowledge, talents and support those members possess. It is important that people who are already in leadership positions reach out to minority members and encourage and mentor them to take active roles at all levels of ACB. This inclusion opens the door to a more cohesive organization. Inclusion = retention = growth = strength.
The mission of the Multicultural Affairs Committee (MCAC) is to promote and sustain a cohesive and inclusive environment that truly values and embraces diversity, cultures, differences, and perspectives within the framework of ACB. MCAC hosts programs and activities each year during the ACB conference and convention designed to combat bias, bigotry and racism, while promoting intercultural dialogue, awareness and respect for diversity. This year’s theme is “Strength In Diversity.” Come join us and have some fun!
The annual luncheon will be held on Sunday, July 7th from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The cost is $30 pre-registration, $32 at the door. The luncheon will feature Akwaaba, a presentation focusing on Frederick Douglass and the Underground Railroad, including historical figures Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman and a person heading to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Akwaaba’s living history presenters are Rochester residents who are accomplished educators, social workers, and healthcare professionals. Join us for a historical and entertaining presentation!
Immediately after the Akwaaba presentation, we’ll hold a candidates’ forum for all those seeking election in 2019. This is your chance to hear firsthand the candidates’ goals and plans for the future of ACB.
Our mid-week social will be held Tuesday, July 9th, from 5 to 6:15 p.m. Cost is $18 pre-registration, $20 at the door. As the whirlwind week of convention activities is winding down, take some time to relax and join MCAC at the Midweek Social for fun, food, music, and door prizes - take home a memento from Rochester!