Once known as the Champaign County Anti-Stigma Alliance, the Alliance for Inclusion and Respect is cultivating partners and opportunities to transform Champaign County into an inclusive, fully integrated community. We focus on challenging stigma and discrimination, raising awareness of access, disability, and diversity, and identifying venues for all members of our community to participate fully. We are committed to the belief that everyone is entitled to a good life, that every one of us is needed, and that every one of us has a valuable contribution to make.
The Alliance for Inclusion and Respect is a community collaboration which works to address and challenge the negative impact of stigma. The Alliance has used films as a way to increase dialogue about stigma and how it affects people with disabilities. The Alliance has also partnered with local entrepreneurs to broaden the audience for their talents.
Consider This: People who have disabilities and people who have behavioral health issues, whether chronic or acute or resulting from trauma, tend to live with stigma and discrimination. They have been separated – whether consciously, unconsciously, and at times willingly - from their ‘typically developing peers’ (if there is really such a thing). Discrimination can take subtle forms, including through loving labels such as ‘special.’ The result is still segregation of people and their gifts. For these people and their families, discrimination and exclusion can be painful, dis-empowering, and worse. For the community as a whole, what is the cost of remaining unable to imagine accessibility and inclusion?
Discrimination and exclusion have a significant negative effect on individuals’ health, not to mention self-esteem and happiness. Adverse and traumatic events do as well. The anecdote for social exclusion is INCLUSION. Discrimination, stigma, and segregation have brought us to a dangerous point in history, where those with disabilities and behavioral health disorders are more likely to live in poverty, develop serious physical health problems, be underemployed and lonely, have limited access to healthy foods and quality health care and education, and so on. We believe that isolation, stigma, and discrimination have not only marginalized large groups of people who deserve so much better but have also undermined public funding for services and supports which would allow them to live more successfully among us. Further, we believe that the benefits of living in a fully integrated, inclusive, accessible community accrue to ALL of its members, not just those currently on the outside.