Do I have the strength to be the lone voice of a group?

Last fall, at work, before we even suspected they were eliminating our shift at the warehouse, our company launched what they called communities to represent and discuss certain voices across our network.

Black Lives Matter, Latinx and women were three of the communities— as was a community for people with disabilities.

I joined the community for employees with disabilities, but at the launch Zoom meeting I noticed everyone either worked in the office or worked from home. And no one represented the warehouses, but me.

The community had meetings during my work shifts, and the emails seemed focused on neurological and psychological diagnoses. And while those conditions are important and probably impact more of our population in the company than physical disabilities.

I had a brief conversation about this with my boss today as I had mentioned this flaw in the communities when one of my colleagues asked the CEO why warehouse associates across the network couldn’t have more on-the-clock time to contribute to the communities.

This same fellow employee— a member of the Black Lives Matter group— launched a series of Lunch and Learns to promote more involvement in these communities.

She came to my work station to ask me to come.

My boss said he would be there to represent Latinx. When I told him I registered, he replied, “sweet.”

But, what I realized in discussing this with him, was that people with disabilities probably don’t apply for jobs in warehouses. Because we’ve been conditioned to believe we can’t or shouldn’t do it.

That’s why we don’t have more representation in the warehouse. So while I want to know what plans the company has to accommodate people of different abilities, the reality is we need to determine what people with disabilities can do in the warehouse without impacting overall productivity.

But the next question is: am I really the best person to represent this issue? Do I have a choice?

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