BUSINESS Embracing the Differences By Gwendolyn Plummer and Marge Axelrad Monday, October 17, 2022 1:00 AM RELATED CONTENT The Vision Council Offers Members Access to Executive Online Education through Partnership with Cornell University The Vision Council's DE&I Initiatives Broaden, NOA’s Dr. Sherrol Reynolds Discussed Diversity Challenges at Vision Expo West Celebrating Diversity Online Black-Owned Eyewear Steps Into the Spotlight Click to download a PDF of Embracing the Differences.NEW YORK—Long term societal issues, like those of diversity, equity & inclusion, have been fighting the hard fight for many years. With the escalation of the disruption unleashed by the global pandemic, the brighter spotlight on the topic from media, and a groundswell among individuals and organizations that more vocal and active commitment was needed, DE&I initiatives continue to expand. Voices from within health care, business, family, politics and culture are starting to join with those in structured organizations along with more assertive storytelling from groups victimized or impacted by the lack of inclusion in hiring, in receiving or accessing fair and equitable business or health care services and more. Individuals, groups and organizations across the optical industry and vision care profession, are stepping up to support these as part of an expanding commitment. VMAIL will continue to report on these as they are issued. Vision Monday has housed these and more in our Diversity & Inclusion category on VisionMonday.com (www.visionmonday.com). Efforts this year have widened. Optical companies have issued statements of support for diversity & inclusion and have fostered more internal dialog and new programs. Among these are National Vision, VSP Vision, MyEyeDr., Warby Parker, IDOC, EssilorLuxottica, Safilo, Marcolin, Zyloware, Kering, WestGroupe, ClearVision, CooperVision, Johnson & Johnson, De Rigo and many, many more. Schools and college of optometry have also amped up their own visibility in this arena throughout the past two years and involved current and prospective students and faculty as well in new discussions. Recognition of the DE&I challenges span issues among Black, Asian, LatinX, Pacific Islander, and others of color as well as LGBTQ and women, and those with limited economic access to care and services. Communities of those suffering from or living with vision disabilities and blindness are, just this month, joining with other national organizations to recognize and demand representation and access during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Today, the DE&I issues are being supported by executives and employees, doctors and associates, patients and patient advocates, plus industry organizations and professional societies who are starting to more openly address the issues of racism and institutional prejudice with new programs.