Editor's Letter: The Complexities of Inclusion

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Tabatha Wethal’s feature article, “From Accessibility to Inclusivity: Exceeding Standards in Aquatic Design” (See AB April 2023, page 46), is a great reminder on the importance of inclusion in our industry. Specifically, Wethal’s piece discusses how designers think about creating aquatics facilities that allow for people of all ages and abilities to participate in something as common and refreshing as a swim in the community rec center pool.

Accessibility is a facet of inclusion, which is a relevant topic that has implications that go far beyond physical barriers encountered in infrasctructure. AB Media is continually covering issues relating to how we can include all people — regardless of race, color, creed or sexual identity — in everything from facilities to participation in athletics. As evidenced by the comments section on our website, our readers are passionate about the issue of inclusion.

Inclusion is simultaneously a very simple and complex concept. It’s complex in that ensuring it requires that we attempt to see the world from outside our own point of view. We might ask ourselves, what if I wanted to climb that bouldering wall, but I was paraplegic? What if I were a Black high school student-athlete and fans were making monkey noises while I was trying to shoot a free throw? What if I was born a boy, but I identify as a girl, and I want to play on a girls’ soccer team?

These are just a few examples of the ways inclusion becomes an incredibly important consideration for an industry that aims to provide everyone with a chance to safely use our communal facilities and participate in physical activity of all kinds. It’s not the job of AB editors to take sides on the aforementioned issues within these pages. However, AB Media can offer a valuable forum for the discussion of how this industry realizes inclusion through solutions that everyone can accept. We hope all our readers will take part in that discussion going forward.

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