Fifth Annual ICE Awards
by Kerry Taylor-Johnson
“Opportunity Dances with those on the dance floor.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Does anyone remember those middle school dances – the places where you would figure out the next steps in life? Where it felt like you were leaving the elementary playground, stepping away from the comfort of old friends?
Imagine being back at that middle school dance, a tumultuous zone outside your comfort zone. A place where mingling with kids from other schools was as intimidating as the prospect of dancing. This was a milestone, a rite of passage, where the gymnasium buzzed with anticipation, waiting for the music to dictate the night’s rhythm.
Picture a room where some kids effortlessly matched the beats, navigating the fast and slow rhythms with ease. Yet, many others lingered on the sidelines, hesitant and watchful, caught in a whirlpool of questions, uncertainty marking their expressions. Will I ever make it to the dance floor? What would it feel like once I am there? Will I navigate the dance moves successfully?
Recall that transformative moment – stepping onto the dance floor. Whether driven by a surge of courage or led by a friend, being there marked a newfound sense of belonging and acceptance, an exhilarating realization that life would never be the same.
The essence of inclusive employment resonates with the symphony of these middle school dances. It’s a voyage filled with uncertainty and learning, a passage marked by inevitable growth. As employers and employees, there’s a dance of synergy, a mutual rhythm to be found despite the apprehensions and unknown pathways that loom ahead.
The dance floor of opportunity awaits each one of us here tonight – individuals with lived experiences, nominees, and organizational representatives. It’s a realm where opportunities blossom, acceptance flourishes, and equality reigns supreme. Let’s keep the rhythm alive, inviting and encouraging more souls to experience the transformative dance of inclusivity and opportunity.