AT&T Breaking Barriers with Inclusion Program

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AT&T continues to work toward its goal to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. Demonstrating the importance of digital access, AT&T is keeping its May 20 observance of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) online this year as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down.

Corey Anthony, Chief Diversity Officer, will kick things off in an address to AT&T employees worldwide. Suzanne Montgomery, Chief Accessibility Officer, will then lead a panel discussion on shifting the disabilities conversation out of the afterthought.

AT&T hosted several online DINE! sessions highlighting discussions on a variety of accessibility and disability topics in the week leading up to GAAD.

GAAD is observed on the third Thursday in May to promote digital accessibility and inclusion for people with all disabilities.

Rachel Simon gathering with her diverse colleagues for lunch
A Christian, a Muslim, a Jew and an Atheist walk into a coffee shop …
It sounds like the perfect set-up to a joke, right? But there’s no punchline here. Instead, this social media meme goes on to say: “And they talk and laugh and drink coffee and become very good friends. It’s not a joke. Honestly, it’s what happens when you’re not a jerk.”

It’s certainly no joke to Rachel Simon, vice president – Privacy, at AT&T. This meme – together with an impassioned speech by then AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on race relations – spurred her to start something in 2017: DINE!. The acronym seems to bring that meme to life: Discover differences. Include one another. Navigate new perspectives. Eat! That’s just what Rachel did during a lunch date with five diverse colleagues – one gay, an African American, a Chinese immigrant, a Muslim and a Latina. Rachel is Jewish.

It’s a formula that’s been repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times throughout AT&T. Rachel herself has hosted 64 sessions. The lunch and learn format promotes getting to know people from different backgrounds of all kinds from ethnicity and religion to sexual orientation and ability. Generally limited to small groups, the program is about building acceptance and understanding.