The Collaborative Rainbow

The Collaborative Rainbow

By Candice D. Saketkoo, Ph.D., Psy.D.

Whenever I hear, “Don’t Say Gay,” the rainbow of emotions overcome me. Red rages through my body as I try to contain my anger. Orange takes over fostering energy for me to find resolution. Suddenly yellow embraces me with hope. Green nudges me to create something that will remind others of good nature. Blue wraps calm around me. Purple then steps in allowing my creative juices to flow.

As you may know, due to the "Don't Say Gay" bill recently passed in Florida, many of our Collaborative friends and colleagues have expressed feeling unsafe coming to Florida for the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) Forum at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center from October 27-30, 2022. Therefore, in an attempt to demonstrate a welcoming sense of safety, unity, and solidarity, I proposed that a few of us within the Collaborative community have custom t-shirts made to illustrate that and to identify supportive and well-intended allies. Afterall, we as Collaborative Professionals assist families from all walks of life on a daily basis while preserving a non-judgmental, non-adversarial, safe, confidential, and transparent environment, particularly during emotional times that can otherwise be destructive beyond repair.

Well, these are emotional times that can otherwise be destructive beyond repair. If we as interdisciplinary Collaborative professionals work to resolve family conflicts without court intervention and if we strive to make Collaborative Process available as a preferred dispute resolution option for individuals and families among a wider range of cultures, abilities, and communities, then how can we allow individuals to feel deterred, scared, or even overpowered by the “Don’t Say Gay” bill?

Being someone with extensive visual impairments and of Iranian Jewish decent, I am no stranger to overcoming unimaginable adversity. It is through conquering these seemingly insurmountable challenges that I increasingly recognized and embraced how every individual represents a unique opening into a new and extraordinary world. It is through the unimaginable discrimination, persecution and torture that my family and loved ones have faced that I fervently strive to participate in being the change that I wish to see and to obtain actual Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA).

With periodic feedback from other Collaborative professionals, I therefore designed the customized rainbow tie-dye shirt as seen below. I then thoroughly explored many options in an attempt to adequately fund this project, at times becoming somewhat discouraged with my present inability to privately do so.

Then, one early morning, my issues with funding suddenly changed. I shared details surrounding the prospect of this project with Rebecca H. Fischer, one of the founders of My Collaborative Team (MCT). Being familiar with how MCT is a non-profit organization that supplements and promotes Collaborative Practice along with supplementing and promoting IACP, I was quickly reminded of MCT’s dedication and devotion to educating others as it relates to IDEA. Before I knew it, Edward Sachs, Rebecca H. Fischer, and Eric Sachs cleared their schedules to meet with me that same day.

During our meeting, I found myself again experiencing the rainbow of emotions, but this time red traveled through my body with love and passion. Without any hesitation or reservation, Ed as President of MCT and on behalf of MCT immediately secured full funding for this project. As MCT is not a 501c3 organization, I further felt relieved that MCT’s unconditional support would not pose any conflict in its seeming social and/or political position as this endeavor is not initiated by IACP or any of its affiliated organizations, nor is it intended to generate profits for IACP. We agreed that proceeds will be donated to an IACP IDEA program and to Equality Florida Action, Inc., whose Executive Director will be IACP's keynote speaker at Forum.

MCT and I recognize that we all have life experiences that impact how we view things and more importantly how we respond to situations. The messages that we convey and the colors that we choose to covey those messages impact and influence others more than we may realize. Colors also influence our thinking, inspire our decision-making, and impact our moods. From causing changes to changing reactions, colors are more powerful than we realize. Depending on our interpretations, they can be used for both good and malevolence. Fortunately, we have the power to welcome some colors while turning away others. Find the MAGIC in colors and in IDEA. Be Inclusive. Respect Diversity. Embrace Equity. Enhance Accessibility. Inspire change. Defy ignorance. Empower tolerance. Adopt acceptance. At the end of this rainbow, you will always find an invaluable treasure.

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