Dear Beloved Naropa Community,
July marks Disability Pride Month, a time to celebrate, in radical acceptance, the varietal and divergent possibilities of our truest expressions. And what is authentic expression if not the ability to show up unabashedly as you are despite the narrowing definitions of normal? If not an honoring of the intricate and precise way life manifested itself through you.
As a lifelong person who stutters, I know well the struggles inherent in living with a divergent form of expression, and the daily task of facing what I’ve long thought of as a limitation. It is by the use of communication through innovative technology that I’ve been able to practice and experience the kind of fluency I aspire towards. For the most part today, my speech disfluency is covert. What you see as a pause or fluid speech is in fact a full body effort. In reflection I consider that effective communication isn’t in how I say my words, but that I say them at all. Could we, perhaps, define and embrace ability in regard to bravely showing up regardless of all the reasons not to?
Could we honor the contribution of each being? How in its elemental, essential composition, each thing alive contains the same building blocks of what makes life possible. And what is praise if not celebratory gratitude for that, a way of saying “Yes, I see you. I see you standing there doing your best to honor the one life you’re given, and above all, it is your effort, your thereness, that brims beauty into the world.” How else are we to fully show up if not for the support of a community that cares?
Here at Naropa we are committed to shaping an accessible, equitable, and inclusive world for all by virtue and effort of encouraging the authentic self-expression of all abilities. Along with ensuring the standards of the American Disabilities Act, Naropa seeks to foster a culture of accommodating every person who comes through our doors. Still more, it is ever important today not just to provide the technological and physical accommodations necessary for our community, but the adaptable awareness towards the mental and emotional needs of our community.
Naropa has worked diligently on ensuring that our classrooms and environments are increasingly accessible, including addressing sensitivity to lighting by installing LED light fixtures at the Lincoln building, professionally testing our air quality, and updating our Canvas software to include a built-in screen reader through TextAid and ReadSpeaker. The Office of Accessibility Resources is also hiring an Accessibility Specialist to help further Naropa’s commitment to accessibility. Additionally, a new online platform to register for accommodations will be launching soon. The new system, Accessible Naropa, will be connected to the student’s class schedule. So no more having to look up your courses and verify if the instructors have changed. The new system will update weekly and have the latest scheduling as well as faculty information to make the process easier for the students requesting accommodations.
Join us in such radical praise, of the divergent and astonishing ways life can give shape, and how our world is made more capable by the strength of its varied abilities.
—Moudi Sbeity, MCIC Graduate Assistant, MBTC ’26
MCIC Community Compass
Written in solidarity and collaboration by the Division of Mission Culture and Inclusive Community.