Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
NAVIGATION

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, 2023

 

Dear May Colleagues, 

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! 

Every year, between September 15th and October 15th, we pay special tribute to the culture and contributions of Latino communities in the U.S. with ancestors from Mexico, Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, and Spain. Hispanic Heritage Month also marks the independence anniversary of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, and Chile.

This month we proudly recognize that Latinos make up one of the fastest growing populations within the U.S. In fact, the 2020 US Census revealed that the Hispanic or Latino population grew by 23% between 2010 and 2020, representing more than half (51.1%) of the total U.S. population growth during this time period. 

Latino communities shape American life and culture through food, art, music, and theater, sports, television and film, politics, language, traditions, and family values. There is a wealth of prominent Latino figures who have influenced our society in a profound way—Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez, Sylvia Rivera, Sonia Sotomayor, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, to name just a few. These superheroes, and countless others, have helped demonstrate that “the Latino community and Latino history is a fundamental part of American history” (Emily Key, Director of Education at the Smithsonian Latino Center). 

We encourage you to find ways to honor this Hispanic Heritage Month through cultural celebrations and events, restaurants, books, film, podcasts—and talking to your neighbor! 

“It is important for all of us to appreciate where we come from and how that history has really shaped us in ways that we might not understand.”
— Sonia Sotomayor

Thank you,

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff in honor of Juneteenth. 

June 19th, 2023

 

Dear May Colleagues,

Today we celebrate Juneteenth, our annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. President Joseph Biden established Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday in 2021.  

Juneteenth (also known as Juneteenth Independence Day, Freedom Day, and Emancipation Day) marks the day federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, in 1865, to notify the last enslaved people that slavery had ended. This day came two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1862.  

An increasing number of people across the country have come to recognize Juneteenth, particularly over the past few years as the Black Lives Matter movement has gained traction. Tyina Steptoe, historian at University of Arizona, writes, “The particular shape that Black Lives Matter is taking has forced people to really think about the longer histories of racism that have gotten us to this moment, and not just looking at the death of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor as isolated events. People have connected Black Lives Matter today with this long history of colonization and enslavement.”

This pivotal day represents the end of the institution of slavery in the United States 158 years ago. Juneteenth also calls on us to continue fighting to dismantle generations of systematic oppression and violence toward Black and African Americans that is still pervasive today. 

We invite you to explore the resources below: 

Thank you, 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council  

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to Celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD).
March 8th, 2023 

 

Today we pay special tribute to the women, past and present, who’ve shaped May Institute into the nationally recognized nonprofit organization it is today—providing excellence in serving thousands of individuals across the lifespan and their families every year. 

 

We celebrate Marie Anne May, whose unbreakable strength as a mother forged her journey to co-found May Institute. Opening a small school in Chatham, Mass., Marie Anne and her husband dedicated themselves to advancing the quality of care for their twins and countless others to follow. 

 

We celebrate Dr. Lauren C. Solotar, who became the first woman President and Chief Executive Officer of May Institute in 2013. As a testament to her steadfast and strategic leadership, our organization has been listed on The Commonwealth Institute's (TCI) list of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts for the past seven consecutive years.

 

We celebrate the thousands of our skilled and dedicated women employees—direct support providers, instructors, teachers, behavior analysts, teachers, counselors, nurses, specialists, interns, post-doctoral fellows, research scientists, administrators, and executives—who all play a unique role in fulfilling May’s mission. These women make a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals and families we serve and lasting contributions in our field. 

 

Last but not least, we celebrate the inspiring girls and women served by May Institute. We feel honored to support their individual journeys, helping them reach their greatest potential and live their fullest lives. We are driven by their achievements, strength, and boundless spirit.

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff to Celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
December 3rd, 2022
 

Dear May Colleagues, 

There are more than one billion people around the globe experiencing a disability, and that number is rising dramatically. These individuals often face multiple forms of discrimination, segregation, and exclusion. 

On December 3rd, we celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD). This day highlights the importance taking of actionable steps to remove barriers, so people with disabilities can fully participate in society and reach their full potential. 

Established in 1992 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, IDPD aims to promote the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities through education and advocacy. It also seeks to raise awareness of contributions of people with disabilities “in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life” (UN Department of Social Economic Affairs). 

This year’s IDPD theme is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world’. 

As a human services organization proudly serving individuals across the lifespan with autism, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, neurological disorders, and behavior disorders, May Institute is dedicated to promoting independence, choice, dignity, and respect for persons with disabilities. We are also committed to fostering a diverse workplace culture that supports disability inclusion; employees with disabilities make invaluable contributions to the mission, vision, and values of our organization. 

On this day of observance, we pay special tribute to the individuals we serve as well as our employees with disabilities across all our centers, schools, residences, and the larger May community. 

To learn more about IDPD and themes from previous years, visit International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3 December | United Nations Enable

Thank you, 
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff in honor of Transgender Awareness Week

November 14th, 2022
 

Dear May Colleagues, 

On November 13-19th, we proudly celebrate Transgender Awareness Week! While transgender people are increasingly visible in our society, they still face severe discrimination in employment, housing, health care, education, and legal systems. They also face violence—and, too often, death—as a result of hate crimes. At May Institute, we prioritize the safety, dignity, and respect of our transgender colleagues. Whether you identify as a transgender person or an ally, we invite you to view the videos and resources below.

Videos:

Additional Resources

Lastly, on November 20th, we honor the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of transphobic violence on Transgender Day of RemembranceGwendolyn Ann Smith, Transgender Day of Remembrance founder, writes: 

"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice." 

Thank you, 
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) Council

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff in honor of Juneteenth. 

June 17th, 2022

One Hundred Fifty-Seven Years Later…

“We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

Every Juneteenth, the Black community celebrates progress. Though progress is often delayed, the community’s resilience and perseverance through history marshals it forward. 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19th in 1865, when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were finally notified that slavery had ended in the United States. By the time federal troops brought word to this last and most remote bastion of slavery, 2½ years had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth is also known as African American Freedom Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day. 

One hundred fifty-seven years later, the United States continues to grapple with systemic racism. The deep and pervasive scars left by our nation’s history of slavery and racism remain. 

Just over a month ago, one of the deadliest racist massacres in our country’s history took place when an 18-year-old who believes in a white supremacist ideology known as replacement theory, shot and killed 10 people, and injured three more, at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Almost all of the victims were Black. 

Lynching—violent public acts that were used to terrorize and control Black people in the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in the South (Naacp.org)—was declared as a federal hate crime only weeks ago, on March 29th, 2022. It has taken more than 100 years and 200 failed attempts for the United States to pass a bill that criminalizes lynching. The new Emmett Till Antilynching Act makes lynching punishable by up to 30 years in prison, can carry a fine, or both (Npr.org).

Our country is not alone in its deplorable deeds. Black people in many nations continue to face racism and discrimination. Even as the world watched with sadness and heartache as Ukrainians fled the country, Black people there faced barriers to their safety. In the midst of war, there are many reports of Black people being turned away at border crossings. There are even reports of animals being allowed on trains before Africans.

Black Lives Matter. 

May Institute’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council continues to work towards inclusion, equality, equity, and justice. The Council stands in solidarity with those who speak out against systemic racism and oppression and are working to dismantle it. We continue to stand with the African American and Black communities.  

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff concerning recent events
November 19, 2021 

This has been a devastating week for us on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council, a feeling that is undoubtedly shared with many of us at May Institute. Our reasons include, but are not limited to, the following recent developments:

  • Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges after shooting 3 people, resulting in the deaths of two, during the 2020 protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. 
  • Christopher Belter plead guilty to raping four teenage girls, yet will not spend time in prison. 
  • There was a last-minute reprieve of Julius Jones, but will it stand? Julius has spent over 20 years on death row for murder, even though he has consistently asserted that he is innocent. Explicit racial bias occurred during his trial process. 

This news is not only devastating, but it further exemplifies the systemic racism and social justice issues that are not only present but are prevalent. As the DEI Council, we grieve these injustices both as allies and as those who are directly affected… but we channel that energy into our healing process (which will undoubtedly result in scars) and by standing in alliance against these issues. We invite you to do the same. We are ONE.

In solidarity,

Lauren and the DEI Council

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff concerning the earthquake that has hit Haiti
August 16, 2021

As we begin this week, events in many parts of the world are causing a great deal of pain and suffering. Our hearts and minds and prayers are with all those impacted and their loved ones throughout the world. That includes the people of Haiti who are enduring the aftermath of yet another devastating natural disaster. Many employees and families at May call Haiti home, and/or have family in Haiti directly affected by the earthquake. We are so sorry for your pain.

Sincerely,

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council

 

 

 

A letter from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council to May staff acknowledging Juneteenth
June 2021

A mere 156 years ago, on June 19, 1865, enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, were finally notified that slavery had ended in the United States. By the time federal troops brought word to this last and most remote bastion of slavery, two-and-a-half years had passed since the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Juneteenth (also known as African American Freedom Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, Jubilee Day, or Emancipation Day) commemorates this momentous event – one far too long in coming. 

Last year, Massachusetts’ governor proclaimed June 19 a state holiday to recognize “the continued need to ensure racial freedom and equality.” All other states have done the same over time, with three doing so only this year. Legislation establishing Juneteenth National Independence Day as a federal holiday was signed into law by President Joseph Biden yesterday, June 17, 2021, after finally passing through Congress. This recognition represents a heightened awareness and acknowledgment of our history, but the country as a whole has been slow on this front.  

The United States continues to grapple with systemic racism and its effects. The deep and pervasive scars left by our nation’s history of slavery and systemic racism remain -- their impact addressed too slowly, their existence sometimes not even recognized and/or acknowledged. This begs the question: Is enough being done by individual people, groups within society, and society as a whole to ensure equality, equity, inclusion, and justice for all? And is it timely? 

Progress should be celebrated. Juneteenth serves as a beacon of hope; a reminder of what can and should be. But much work remains. Continued honest self-reflection, dialogue, learning, and action are critical at this juncture.  

We believe Black Lives Matter. We continue working towards inclusion, equality, equity, and justice. We continue standing in solidarity with those who speak out against systemic racism and oppression and work to dismantle it. We continue to stand with the African American and Black communities.  

To learn more and access resources, click on the following: 

“What is Juneteenth,” juneteenth.com: https://bit.ly/3cFXOtC 

“The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth,” National Museum of African American History and Culture: https://s.si.edu/3gvFyV8 

“Emancipation and the Meaning of Juneteenth” by Graham Russell Gao Hodges: https://bit.ly/2TxIRTC  

“Juneteenth: The Growth of an African American Holiday (1865 - )” by Quintard Taylor: https://bit.ly/3xgQlJx  

Happy Juneteenth!