2020 Annual Report - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2020 Annual Report - Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

2020 Advocacy Victories
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

As California works to address the pandemic, the economic downturn, and social unrest around racial justice issues, drc evaluated our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) processes and intersectional advocacy on how we serve and support the disability community.

Internally, drc launched an DEIA committee (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access) to lead with inclusion and include Access to evaluate our policies and procedures and make recommendations for improvements. The Committee is tasked with hiring an external consultant to conduct a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) audit to inform how we can best approach diversity, equity and inclusion to create a more equitable and inclusive environment and recruit and retain staff representative of the communities we serve. We serve clients with disabilities who come from underserved, multicultural and LGBTQIA+ communities. Our staff is composed of 67% who identify as people of color, 32% identify as people with disabilities and 12% identify as LGBTQIA+. The DEIA Committee will review and analyze the results of the audit and establish an action plan.


Employee Led Resource Groups (ERGs)

drc also established 11 employee-led resource groups (ERGs) for employees to come together for professional and personal development. These groups provide a sense of belonging and resource among one another, and provide insight and guidance to the organization on issues related to DEI and employee engagement.


Allies for All

Allies are a group of employees that may not directly identify to an existing ERG through characteristics, but are passionate in supporting the group’s members in creating an educated, supportive and inclusive culture at drc.



The Asian American Pacific Islander Resource and Empowerment (ASPIRE) ERG strives to share the richness of their cultures with others within drc, share immigration histories and personal experiences with others, and identify the unique barriers their communities face accessing drc services.


Disability Alliance

For employees who identify as a person with a disability, this ERG works on this question: What would it look like if drc was a Model Employer for people with disabilities? This group works to identify and implement ideas about how to close the gap between where we are and the model employer state we aim to achieve.


Dragon Users

The Dragon Users ERG is for employees who use or are curious about using Dragon NaturallySpeaking (speech recognition software) and other assistive technology (AT) to increase their productivity and reduce frustration at work.


Estrella Latinx

The Estrella Latinx ERG creates a safe space for drc employees that identify as Latinx to come together to support, encourage, listen, share ideas and resources that can help us grow by discussing professional growth, compensation based on skill/ experience/contribution as well as supporting and finding ways to better serve the Disability Latinx Community.


Family Members with Disabilities

This group strives to be a resource of information and support, in a safe environment, for anyone who is currently an advocate for their family member(s), or for those who are considering stepping up into that role, using individual and collective experiences of the group as a foundation.



Disability Rights California’s first ERG comes from and supports the LGBTQIA+ community. This group is for those who are a member or ally of this community. The LGBTQIA+ ERG has provided input on several documents and proposals for changes to agency policies.


Mental Health

The Mental Health ERG welcomes all drc staff, including people with lived experience (peers), people who have family members with lived experience and our allies who respect and support those of us in the mental health community. Goals Include: to provide support and resources to one another, raise awareness, educate and help others develop an understanding about issues and concerns experienced by people in the mental health community, provide outreach and education to help eliminate mental health stigma and discrimination.


Support Staff Resource Team

The Support Staff Resource Team creates an inclusive space for support staff from anywhere in the agency to speak freely, share knowledge, and build coalitions that will benefit them as members and the agency overall.


Umoja (Unity)

The Umoja (Unity) ERG creates a safe, Black space for drc employees that identify as Black to come together to support, encourage, listen and share ideas and resources that can help us move forward in a positive direction, creating a purposeful work-life balance. UMOJA recommended drc acknowledge Juneteenth as a critical day where our agency reflects on the legacy of slavery. Juneteenth is now an official drc holiday as of June 18, 2021.


10 Plus Legends

Comprised of diverse, talented, passionate, experienced leaders working to further Disability Rights California’s commitment to ensuring employees at all levels of the organization and tenures, including long-term staff in non-supervisory roles, are compensated based on their contribution, valued, contribute in a variety of meaningful ways, have opportunities for professional growth and meaningful careers at drc. This ERG is focused on drc employees who have been here for 10 years or more, but who are not in supervisory roles.

Intersectional Advocacy & Developing New Advocacy Platform

drc worked closely with our Board of Directors to develop a new advocacy platform to hold ourselves accountable for bold, progressive advocacy that pushes society toward more inclusion, equality and full participation for all people.

Goals include:

  • Reaching out to and deepening our engagement with California’s diverse disability leaders and growing the capacity of disability-led and family-led organizations in our state; and
  • Amplifying the work of civil rights activists who fight for dignity and equality for Black, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific Islander, immigrant, and LGBTQIA2S+ communities, and for people with disabilities who are members of these communities.
A photo of a young woman with a disability surround by her co-workers at her place of employment.

The pandemic also highlighted structural problems in our healthcare, housing, and justice systems that have led to disproportionate harm to California’s Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian Pacific Islander communities in the past several months.

We identified, to be effective advocates for all Californians with disabilities, we must address systemic racism, ableism, homophobia, sexism, and structural barriers that deny us equal access to services, systems, and legal protections that all people deserve and require.

Moving forward in this moment, drc will be proactive in ensuring that our advocacy seeks out and responds to the voices of people of color with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community with disabilities.

Looking Forward

drc will move forward our strategic goal of demonstrating our values by championing and modeling diversity, equity, and inclusion and reflecting the communities we serve. As California recovers from the pandemic's economic crisis, drc will continue to work throughout the State, federally, and nationally to promote an economy that is open and accessible to all people, with all types of disabilities, including people from intersectional communities and people who have significant support needs.