They found their path at a Friday night show in November of 2009. Arrest My Sister invited some students with special needs to a show at the Cabana Club in Hollywood. 15 students showed up in a room of 75 people, mirroring the 1 in 5 ratio of people with and without disabilities in the general population. One of those students was Nicky Klein, a young man with severe cerebral palsy who is confined to a wheel chair. Scott Siegel, the frontman from Arrest My Sister, invited everyone to dance. Nicky put his “chair in gear” and was the first to dance.
Everyone in the room gravitated to Nicky and began to dance with him. The room became one. The differences became invisible. Everyone belonged. True Inclusion was in the room. Diversity Dances was born.
One in five members of the general population have some sort of disability. One in 800 children born have downs syndrome. Five-hundred thousand people in the U.S. have cerebral palsy. One in 90 children born have autism. Twenty percent of that population is under 21 years old.
The majority of this population is transitioning into adulthood. There is currently a 70 percent unemployment rate in the adult population with disabilities. Additionally, this population is not included in the social network of the typical population.
The principle of Inclusion is a much larger picture than just placement in a situation. It is being part of what everyone else is, and being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs.
Imagine a world of Inclusion and gainful employment for people with disabilities. Imagine this transition occurring one community at a time. Imagine Diversity Dances.
The mission of Diversity Dances is to provide inclusion opportunities for people with and without disabilities and spread disability awareness to the typical community. The goal is to accomplish this mission one community at a time.
Diversity Dances Events
Diversity Dances has participated in a number of events to promote Inclusion, and we have experienced great success with inclusion by facilitating diverse groups with common interests. The first was a musical experience as described above in the History section. This also happened through a stand up paddle event and other entertaining activities. The Diversity Dances event also provides a showcase of exceptional talent and Inclusion. An example of this talent is the fifteen year old girl with autism, Dani Bowman, who created the animation on the Arrest My Sister music video, The Cave. With our partners we have developed specialized programs for colleges, corporations, and other environments to bring people together.
Inclusion Recognition and Sanctioning
Diversity Dances offer Inclusion Recognition for individuals and groups who participate in Diversity Dances’ sanction Inclusion events through Certificates of Completion, Achievement, and Participation.