I don’t really drink beer. Occasionally, on a hot day, with friends, I’ll slowly nurse one drink all day long. I don’t really watch commercials, either. Occasionally, when flipping channels, I stop if something catches my eye. And yesterday something did.
This Guinness commercial made me want to drink more beer and watch more commercials.
The commercial opens with a team of sweaty basketball players in wheelchairs. They’re playing, pushing, grunting and scoring as any good players would. Then, as one last shot is made, the game ends – and all players but one rise from out of their wheelchairs, give each other high fives and walk out of the gym. Next, we see the bar where they guys have met up for a beer. The voiceover: “Dedication, loyalty, friendship. The choices we make reveal the nature of our character.”
I watched this and was struck by the normalcy of all of it. It was a group of friends playing basketball, nothing more. It was almost as if the wheelchair was a non-issue, like it didn’t exist. They have this awesome friend who they wanted to play ball with and they just needed to figure out how to do it. And they did.
True inclusion: They didn’t have to work on it; they didn’t have to make complicated modifications with committee meetings and expensive consultants; they just played basketball with their friend.
Inclusion should be this easy – this thoughtful and this deliberate, but also this easy.
So here they are: the three keys to true inclusion – be thoughtful, be deliberate and make it happen.And watch more commercials and drink more beer.
Elana has been working at the intersection of special education and Jewish education for over 15 years. She is the founder and Executive Director of Rosh Pina, a non-profit that offers a certification for Jewish institutions after a year-long process of reflecting and creating a more inclusive community for people with disabilities. She is the Ruderman Fellow of the Joshua Venture Group and a member of the newest cohort of Upstart Bay Area. She directs the Tikvah program for kids with disabilities at Camp Ramah in California, which includes a camper program, a vocational program for young adults, and a camp for families that have children with disabilities. Elana has consulted with multiple Jewish institutions to aid them in thinking about how to be more inclusive of Jews of all abilities. She has taught professional development courses in differentiated instruction, behavior management and teaching Hebrew. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and three boys, Yair, Nevo and Etai. Learn more at: http://joshuaventuregroup.org/2012/fellows/fellows-current/elana-naftalin-kelman#sthash.RGuFSug9.dpuf