To our collaborators, colleagues, and friends,
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and took the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. When my kids were little, we went around the Thanksgiving table and shared what we were thankful for. Who knew that just being at the same table with those we love would be so high on our list this year? The pandemic has continued to challenge “getting back to normal,” but as 2021 quickly comes to an end, I want to share some of the lessons you have reminded us of throughout the year.
- Challenge your own assumptions
- Default to trusting one-another
- Engage with your community
- Partner with people who have lived experience
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- Share your knowledge
- Communicate freely
- Accommodations that promote equity are a right, not a privilege
- Lead by example
- And—Imagine what’s possible!
You may read this list and see some ideas that resonate. Or you may read this list and think it doesn’t apply to you. No matter how you accepted or dismissed the concepts above, I encourage you to read it again and ask yourself, “Can I be better, can I do more?” Is there something that you rejected, but on second look, might not be so unreasonable? Is there something you’re passionate about that wasn’t mentioned? If so, find ways to share that message—you never know when your words will inspire others.
I am a firm believer that, together, we can create a future that ensures people affected by and living with spinal cord injuries live healthy and productive lives in their communities. But, to make this vision a reality, we need to put our ideas into action. In 2022, look for collaborative partnerships; challenge yourself to develop creative approaches; and break down barriers with more inclusive attitudes.
From all of us at the Neilsen Foundation, we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
With profound appreciation,