Over the last two years, the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities has been intentionally reviewing and updating its guiding principles, formerly referred to as bylaws. In January 2023, the Commission unanimously accepted and approved an updated version of the guiding principles. The updates to the guiding principles are rooted in a commitment to the Commission’s mission to support inclusive and equitable engagement for people with disabilities in Philadelphia. The Commission desires for its guiding principles to be a living document that supports the Commission’s autonomy and self-governance.

Updates to Guiding Principles

The primary updates to the guiding principles include:

  • Moving away from the term bylaw in favor of guiding principles.
  • Removing gendered language in reference to different roles to be affirming to people of all genders who may hold those roles.
  • Expanding the definition of disability to include the definition within the Developmental Disabilities Act. The Act defines disability as a natural part of the human condition and should not preclude anyone from accessing an everyday life in the community.
  • Clearly defining Commissioners’ expectations for term limits, leadership roles, and committee structure.

The Commission believes that committees should be passion-led and meet on as needed basis.

Community Agreement

Lastly, the Commission created a community agreement of positive practices to bring the values of and mission of the Commission into action. These positive practices include the following:

Active engagement: Active engagement of all members of the Commission is vital to the success of the Commission in upholding its mission.

Support integrated employment: The Commission supports integrated and equal opportunity for employment for people with disabilities and does not support the practice of sub-minimum wages for people with disabilities.

Accessible engagements: The Commission will provide accessible documents, meetings spaces, and practices for all Commission hosted events and meetings such as visual descriptions, provision of closed captions, and American Sign Language as well as any additionally requested reasonable ADA accommodations.

Voice equity: The Commission is committed to ensuring that all voices are elevated, respected, and treated equitably within the Commission’s internal and external engagements. Commissioners agree to give space for their fellow Commissioners and diverse voices from the disability community.

Mutual Respect: The Commission recognizes that there is no singular experience within the disability community, therefore diverse voices must be engaged and respected, even if they conflict with one another. Disrespectful, discriminatory, or intimidating behaviors will not be tolerated by any member of the Commission.

The next public meeting of the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities will take place on February 8, 2023 via Zoom. Register here to attend.

Want to learn more about the Mayor’s Commission and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities? Check out our website and sign up for our contact list.