SPAN The Bridge Newsletter pictorial graphic.  Your weekly access to SPAN news, resources and events.

July 5, 2023 | Issue 86 (View newsletter as webpage) Para leer este boletín en Español, haga clic aquí

Important News

Tara Szymanek photo

SPAN Joins NJAIJ and Others for Trenton Takeover

SPAN joined with the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice (NJAIJ), ACLU-NJ, Thrive NJ Coalition, Wind of the Spirit and others as they converged in Trenton on June 26 to advocate for abortion access, language access, the NJ Voting Rights Act, The Values Act, and more.

SPAN's own Johan Mora Valverde and Tara Szymanek attended, with Tara taking to the microphone to advocate for language access (pictured).

For coverage of the event, click here.


NJ Dept. of Education Logo

NJ Division on Civil Rights and Dept. of Education Announce Joint Statement on School-Based Anti-Bias Initiatives and Law Against Discrimination

Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Acting Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan recently announced that the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) and DOE have issued a joint statement to offer guidance to students, parents, schools, school boards, educators, and the public.

Consistent with the goals of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the statement encourages all NJ schools, school boards, and administrators to develop and implement initiatives to counter bias and to continue to do things like:

  • display inclusive markers, flags, and symbols in and around their buildings
  • ensure students have access to books representing a diversity of experiences and identities
  • implement and comply with the state's anti-bias curricula requirements regarding race, gender, LGBTQIA+, disability, and diversity

The statement continues that it is consistent with the LAD, for example, for classroom curricula to intentionally highlight Black history, for a teacher to display a LGBTQIA+ safe zone sticker, or for a school library to include books and other materials that reflect the experiences and identities of children and families of all races, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

To read and download the full statement, click here.

July is BIPOC Mental Health Month

Mental Health America Logo

The theme of Mental Health America’s 2023 BIPOC Mental Health campaign is Culture, Community, & Connection. Our lives are deeply intertwined with our environments, and these surroundings impact our mental health and overall wellness. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) populations are faced with disproportionate amounts of historical trauma and displacement that can challenge their ability to thrive in their environments. However, culture, community, and connection are pillars that support and uplift BIPOC individuals in the face of oppression and systemic racism.

As we enter BIPOC Mental Health Month, Mental Health America is providing a free 2023 BIPOC Mental Health Toolkit filled with tons of practical resources to support you in taking action for BIPOC mental health.

To download the toolkit, click here.

Upcoming Events

SPAN offers a variety of learning opportunities for families and the professionals who work with them.

Highlighted Event This Week

NJ DHS logo

Welcome To The Division of Developmental Disabilities

Virtual Information Sessions

July 6, 2023 12PM-1PM ET


July 27, 2023 6PM-7:30PM ET

The intention of these session is to serve as a welcome to individuals who have been determined eligible for the Division of Developmental Disabilities services and supports. This session will give participants an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about what the Division has to offer.

Topics of discussion include the following:

  • Intake Process
  • Supports Program and Community Care
  • Program Services and Supports
  • Support Coordination
  • Employment
  • Community Care Program Waiting List

To register for July 6 Session, click here.

To register for July 27 Session, click here.

See all of SPAN's upcoming events with details and registration links here 

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SPAN Youth Hub image

Ride-Sharing Tips Featuring Partners in Policymaking 2023-2024

Read our latest youth blog post, “Ride-Sharing Tips Featuring Partners in Policymaking 2023-2024,” to learn the do’s and don’ts of popular ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber. We are featuring a leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities (over age 21).

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