“D’Arcy, welcome home.”
T hose words feel so right. That was how I was greeted at one of the first meetings I attended in my new role as Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD). While this role is new to me, the disability community and DD Councils are not. I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected for this position and beyond excited to collaborate with our Council, staff, partners, and advocates across Georgia to advance our mission.
If we’ve not met, my name is D’Arcy Robb. I’m originally from South Charleston, West Virginia, and stumbled into the world of DD Councils after graduating with my Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Kentucky. I’ve worked for the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, the Department of Human Services’ Division of Family and Children Services, and spent a bit of time in the private sector. I am also proud to be a family member of several remarkable, beloved individuals with developmental disabilities. That is, proud not because of anything I’ve done, but because they are too a person and awesome human beings. (Note to my relatives without disabilities, no offense, I think you’re great too.)
Back when I was Public Policy Director for GCDD, I used to describe our mission by saying that our job was to move the ball forward for folks with developmental disabilities and their families. While I don’t think that’s wrong, there’s more to it in our mission statement—that is, to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for the wide spectrum of diverse people/persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, learn, work, play, and worship in their communities. As a seasoned disability leader recently shared with me and the staff, it comes down to supporting people with developmental disabilities to have a meaningful life and remembering that the definition of “meaningful” must be determined by each of us for ourselves.
It means a lot to me to do this work in partnership with you. Whether you identify as someone with a disability, a family member of someone with a disability, a friend, neighbor, policymaker, or supportive ally—I’m thrilled to collaborate with you on making the kind of changes that support everyone in our community to live purpose-filled lives.