UM Forum to Examine Inclusion, Exclusion

October 28, 2016

MISSOULA – A panel of Missoula community members at the University of Montana will share thought-provoking personal stories about inclusion and exclusion regarding disabilities as part of the Wednesday, Nov. 2, DiverseU symposium.

The forum is titled “Does All Really Mean All? Excluding Many, Some or Few” and will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in University Center Room 327.

Sponsored by the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, the event is free and open to the public, and audience discussion is encouraged. Panelists will offer a wide variety of perspectives on disability. The panelists are:

  • Mike Beers, youth advocacy leader and comedian.
  • Chris Clasby, peer advocacy coordinator.
  • Tony Fasso, UM student and advocate.
  • Bob Liston, advocate, former UM student and retired Rural Institute employee.
  •  Jenny Montgomery, advocate and parent of a child with a disability.

Panelists will share stories to trigger a discussion of whether “all” really means all in our community. To better understand inclusion, panelists will discuss its antitheses: exclusion. What does it mean? How does it impact individual lives at organizational, institutional and community levels? One in five of experience some type of disability. This ratio grows as we age and at some point in our lives disability will likely put us in a position to be excluded. Based on lived experience, the event will explore these issues and describe ways in which all really can mean all.

Following brief presentations, a moderator will engage the panelists and audience in a discussion to further explore these issues and to help audience members develop strategies to reduce exclusion in their daily lives. The goal of the discussion is to raise awareness of silent or invisible exclusionary practices such as the layout of our physical spaces, language or work/school/recreation habits that any community member can address.

“With raised awareness, audience members will leave more likely to be cognizant of ways to include all in our community,” Rural Institute Executive Director Martin Blair said.

DiverseU is a two-day event hosted at UM that provides a forum for honest dialogue in order to explore the complexities of human experience, promote understanding and create community through the practice of civil discourse. For a full schedule of offerings visit http://www.umt.edu/diverseu/schedule/default.php.

UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities provides services, training and research that supports the independence, inclusion and participation of people with disabilities. For more information about RIIC and its work, visit: http://ruralinstitute.umt.edu/.

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Contact: Tracy Boehm, director of knowledge translation, UM Rural Institute Research and Training Center, 406-243-5741, tracy.boehm@mso.umt.edu.