Breaking Ground 104 Introduction

by Wanda Willis, Executive Director, TN Council on Developmental Disabilities

Dear readers,

Every one of us has spent the past several months adjusting to change. That’s looked a bit different for each of us. Some of us have weathered the times pretty well. Others have struggled with huge challenges.

This issue of Breaking Ground tells stories of change during a pandemic. What does adjusting to a new reality look like in Tennessee’s disability community? There is a strong thread of good news:

  • Agencies that serve people with disabilities have pivoted almost overnight to deliver key services remotely.
  • Therapists have brought amazing creativity to remote support for our littlest ones.
  • Our state’s disability information and referral service has become a critical resource for the hard-hit Latino community.
  • People with disabilities have used their voices to protect rights that were at risk in new ways.
  • Organizations have worked together to address issues we’d never thought of pre-pandemic.

As I read these stories, I find hope. I am reminded that Tennessee has remarkable people working to serve and advocate across state government, at private organizations and non-profits, and in local communities.

People with disabilities have been uniquely affected by COVID-19. Many face extra barriers to getting the support they need during a crisis. These challenges will be with us for a long time. Yet even in the struggle, we prove again that this is a community that truly understands resilience and determination.

Stay safe and of good courage, dear readers.


Wanda Willis
Executive Director