City of Atlanta doubles down on inclusivity with its new language guide
The Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion released a language guide and signed new city policy as part of an ongoing effort to promote understanding.
Mayor Andre Dickens held a press conference where he signed the Inclusive Language and Actions Administrative Order to improve communication throughout the city. The guide provides definitions and best practices for discussing subjects like race, gender, disability, and immigration.
Georgia law has recently cracked down on discussion of subjects like race and gender under the new “divisive concepts” law. Dickens said Atlanta is doubling down on its equity efforts while others are pulling back because it’s important that residents are respected.
“Languages change; that is not uncommon,” he said. “It is the time that dictates these changes. If you don't believe it, check out any dictionary that was published 40 years ago. It matters what we call people and what we allow people to call us.”
Atlanta Chief Equity Officer Candace Stanciel said changing language is the first step to changing mindsets.
“This is not about being politically correct, but seeing people as whole, humans with complex identities," she said. “If we appreciate who people are, we can serve them where they are.”
Business owner and Georgia State University student Angad Sahgal spoke about having Down Syndrome and advocating for people with disabilities.
“It is what all of us need: an opportunity to pursue our dreams,” he said. “We do not need anything more or anything less than others but just a level playing field.”
Saghal founded Let Me Do It, an app that gives people with disabilities the tools to live more independently by providing support in their decision-making. The app will officially launch in November.
The mayor’s office will continue its month of commitment to equity with a community listening series on disability access and inclusion Sept. 26.