Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Last year, we shared a list of powerful MLK quotes that was curated by Karen Wang. Karen is the mom of several children, including a son with disabilities.
As Karen writes, “As I plan for my children’s future, I find myself returning to [MLK’s] lessons for guidance. Human rights are for everyone, and we still have a long way to go on our journey.”
These quotes are so good that we're sharing them again.
What are you doing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day?
PS: You can read Karen's article here.
We are pleased to announce that Nicole Vivanco has been promoted to the position of Employment Services Director, which oversees UCP's Supported Employment Department.
Prior to this advancement, Nicole was acting as the Employment Services Manager. Nicole took on the Manager position during a very difficult time in the early months of the pandemic.
Thanks to Nicole’s dedication, the Employment Solutions team is thriving, with customers working across the Portland area. Nicole participated in agency-wide strategic planning and implementation. She also fostered productive collaboration with community partners such as mental health and developmental disabilities agencies, area Brokerages, Vocational Rehabilitation, Oregon Commission for the Blind, families, advocates, Board members, etc.
Nicole brings 9 years of experience in the field of supported employment.
Nicole says, “I am so happy to accept this new role within our department, and I am excited to continue to support our customers, employers, and the employment professionals at UCP to find success and meet their career goals.”
She adds, “I’d like to thank our community partners for their collaboration and support. Seeing a person shine—in a job that is a great match for them and their employer—is the biggest motivator for me. Supported employment is so powerful for everyone involved.”
Thank you, Nicole, for everything you’ve done and continue to do. We are excited to begin this new chapter with you.
During this month, the UCP community will be celebrating in different ways, including cultural, family, secular, and spiritual traditions.
Hanukkah started on Sunday. Winter Solstice occurred this week. Christmas and Kwanza are right around the corner, too. Some folks may not celebrate spiritual or secular occasions in December, and some folks may be grieving or having a tough time.
We are holding you--all of you!--in our hearts. We're thankful for each and every one of you. We couldn't do it without you.
Thanks to everyone at UCP who has helped make this season bright!
See you next year.
The UCP Oregon Office is closed today. It will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th.
Stay warm and safe, everyone. Brrrr!
And thanks to everyone who volunteered, worked or participated in our Annual Toy Giveaway, which ended yesterday. Biggest thanks of all go to Katherine Ball, the Director of UCP's Family Support Department.
Join the movement that is #GivingTuesday!
Today, November 29th, millions of people around the world are taking the time to support the causes they care about the most.
We are asking YOU to donate to UCP Oregon. Your donation will make a big difference for the 800 families and 1,000 adults with disabilities that we currently support in Oregon.
Donate to UCP Oregon today!
It’s November. A month of gratitude and feasting… and also of mourning.
Have you heard about the National Day of Mourning? It falls on Thanksgiving Day, and is a way to honor and observe the real origins of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated since 1637, when it was proclaimed by the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to celebrate the safe return of the men who had gone to fight against the Pequot tribe. The fighting led to the enslavement and massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women, and children.
In 1970, a Native American leader named Wamsutta Frank James was invited to give a speech at an event celebrating the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims. He wrote a speech focusing on the real history of Thanksgiving. The event’s organizers cancelled his appearance, which prompted him to start the National Day of Mourning.
The National Day of Mourning has been observed ever since by many people across North America. Each year, hundreds of people gather in Plymouth to commemorate the National Day of Mourning. How will you commemorate the event?
Learn more here:
Did you know that November is "National Family Caregivers" Month (NFCM)?
It's a time to honor America's family caregivers, raise awareness about caregiving issues, and (hopefully!) increase support nationwide for caregivers.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Families are the primary source of support for older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S."
Interestingly, DHS also points out that nearly half of all family caregivers in America are over the age 50.
So, this November, please make sure to say an extra big "thank you" to the family caregivers in your life.
And if you are the caregiver in your family, UCP Oregon wants to thank you for your hard work. We see you, and we appreciate you.
Did you know that November is “National Native American Heritage Month"? NOTE: The month is also known as “American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.”
During this month (and always!), we celebrate the rich and diverse contributions, cultures, and histories of the Native peoples of North American. We acknowledge the challenges Native people have faced in the past and today. And we amplify Native voices.
This month is also a chance to acknowledge the intersection of disability and Native identity. According to the 2010 US Census, 24% of Native Americans and Alaska Natives have a disability.
Tatiana Lee is an activist who experiences disabilities. She has Black and Native American ancestors. She is an actress and international model.
“I went through many struggles of sense of self and identity because I didn’t see myself represented. You feel like an outcast, a unicorn, but sometimes not always in a good way. I try to embrace the unicorn thing, but other times it feels isolating.”
We think all of us are beautiful people! And so does a local filmmaker named Zian Chavez.
Zian is making a documentary about the lived experiences of people who experience disabilities, here in Portland and around the world. The film is entitled “We are the Most Beautiful People.”
UCP Oregon sponsored the documentary, and some UCP Oregon customers have been interviewed as a part of the project. The film crew is interviewing people who experience disabilities all over the globe, including Ghana, India, Canada, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, and the United States.
Zian herself experiences disabilities. As Zian says, “I’ve lived half of my life with a disability. In my own experience of… living with chronic pain and discomfort with MS, I couldn’t imagine feeling beautiful.” That’s why she decided to make this documentary.
She adds, “This is a film unfolding the real life of adults with disabilities… Our triumphs, our failures, our dedication to living our best lives.”
As a sponsor of the project, UCP will benefit from the film’s earnings. We’ll also be working to ensure that there’s a film viewing for our customers, families, employees, and community partners.
Zian will be applying for film festivals in the fall of 2023. The film has an expected release date of December 3, 2023. Stay tuned for more information!
Today marks the first day of “National Hispanic Heritage Month,” celebrated each year from September 15th through October 15th.
This is an important month—a time to think of the contributions and history of people who identify as Hispanic in America.
UCP Oregon thinks it’s also important to talk about the intersection of race and disability this month. More than 5.4 million Americans who identity as Hispanic also experience a disability.
The intersection of multiple identities is complicated.
As Roque Gregorio Renteria (an LA-based screenwriter and comedian who uses a wheelchair) says, “There’s often a trade off when multiple identities are present. People want to focus on my Hispanic identity or my identity as a person with a disability and not examine both.”
However, some Hispanic celebrities who experience disabilities have begun to share their experiences and voices. Notable examples include Michelle Rodriguez and Salma Hayek; and singers Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez.