Disability Diversity: Hingham Unity Council Presents Two Upcoming Events

March 4, 2024 By The Hingham Unity Council

According to the CDC, over one out of four adults (27%) in the United States have some type of disability. However, despite a significant presence in our communities, their experiences remain largely invisible in media and popular culture. To address this gap and promote education and understanding, the Hingham Unity Council (HUC) is hosting two free events aimed at fostering inclusivity and dialogue around disabilities. All are welcome.

Event 1: Let’s Talk Disabilities: Words with Neighbors 2.0
Date: Saturday, March 16
Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Location: Hingham Heritage Museum, 34 Main Street
Light refreshments will be provided
Space is limited and registration is required: https://hinghamunity.org/event/lets-talk-disabilities/

Not sure you’re using the right lingo when it comes to discussing disabilities or want to be more informed on the topic? Curious about how to better support your friends living with disabilities or who have children who do? “Let’s Talk Disabilities: Words with Neighbors 2.0” invites community members to engage in informal, small group conversations alongside fellow neighbors to discuss various terms related to disabilities. Topics will range from disability terminology and etiquette to navigating special education and housing availability for disabled adults. The goal is to create a safe space where individuals can learn, share experiences, and gain confidence in engaging in anti-bias dialogue.

The HUC is thrilled that the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) is co-sponsoring this event and will facilitate discussions on navigating special education.

“We are so grateful for Hingham Unity Council for their partnership in creating this safe space for our community to talk openly about disabilities – both those that are seen and those that are unseen helping to develop greater understanding and thus empathy. Hopefully we can identify some of the challenges and opportunities for greater equity and inclusion within our schools and our community.” said Rebecca Silva, co-Chair of Hingham Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC).

Tom Ford, School Resource Officer, will join the group with his comfort dog, Opry, to provide additional support and comfort (and education about what a “comfort dog” is!) to attendees.

“We hope that these conversations will inspire actionable steps within the community, schools, and local government to enhance the experiences of people with disabilities in Hingham,” says Michelle Ayer, HUC board member and event organizer.

Event 2: Community Book Discussion: Disability Visibility
Date: Thursday, March 28
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Location: Hingham Public Library, Whiton Room, 66 Leavitt Street
Registration: https://hinghamunity.org/event/disability-visibility/

The second event will be a community book discussion of Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the 21st Century edited by Alice Wong. This collection of essays by disabled individuals offers a glimpse into the rich complexity of the disabled experience. It both celebrates disability culture and invites readers to question their own understanding. These book discussions are informal, and participants do not need to read the book to participate.

Both events seek to create spaces where individuals of all abilities feel seen, heard, and valued. By fostering dialogue and understanding, the Hingham Unity Council aims to build a more inclusive and supportive community for everyone.

Bonus Presentation re: Massachusetts Behavioral Health Helpline at the next HUC meeting
Date: Thursday, March 13
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Hingham Public Library, Whiton Room, 66 Leavitt Street
No registration required, all are welcome!

The HUC will start off this month’s regular meeting by hearing from Ashleigh Miller of the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Helpline. The BHHL is the state’s “front door” for behavioral health needs, connecting callers to the full range of treatment services for mental health and substance use throughout the Commonwealth. The BHHL helps in real time with immediate crisis intervention, urgent, and routine needs and is available 24/7/365 in 200+ languages. The BHHL is accessible to both consumers and providers seeking resources for patients. We hope you will join us for this presentation (those who do not wish to stay for the “business” part of the meeting are welcome to leave after the presentation.)

For more information about these and other upcoming events and initiatives, join the Hingham Unity Council’s email list at www.hinghamunity.org and follow www.facebook.com/hinghamunitycouncil and https://instagram.com/hinghamunitycouncil. Hingham Unity Council is fiscally sponsored by the South Shore Unity Council, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All are welcome to participate in our events and programs. Please visit our website to learn how to get more involved.

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