The families that Educate. Advocate. serves are devastated by the violent and deadly event that took place on Wednesday this week at the Inland Regional Center Conference Center Auditorium. Our families frequently attend events, meetings and board meetings at the center as well as the IRC library which is a part of the building. Our thoughts and prayers are with the all of the families that were effected by this tragedy as well as the staff and families that are served by Inland Regional Center. The road towards recovery for all of us effected by this event will be long but we are one community and we stand together.
Friday, December 4, 2015
Our providers in the Inland Regional Center service area were contacted to secure their program operations and await more detail as soon as this tragic event unfolded. One of our members, OPARC, had two staff supporting six consumers at the regional center at the time and those individuals were evacuated by the S.W.A.T. team. In our community everyone is deeply impacted by this moment of terrible tragedy. ALL OF US see the regional centers as places of help where we strive to meet the needs of our clients and their families.
All 280,000 consumers in California go to their regional centers at least once a year. We can immediately see fear and anxiety, deep concern for each other already apparent. We must and will help each other recover from the aftermath of this horrific shock to our service system. We all also share in grieving for those workers and families to lost loved ones or endured terrible injuries. We are indeed one human community and nowhere is that more apparent this week than in our service system.
We thank all the amazing work of our first responders in San Bernardino for their professionalism and superb followup to minimize the damage. Let us never have to endure another day like this one.
Yesterday, two gunmen entered a conference room on the Inland Regional Center property, killing fourteen people, and injuring many more. The facility was rented by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for a holiday party. The attackers were not connected to the regional center. Initial reports indicate one attacker was a County employee.
Inland is one of California’s 21 non-profit regional centers providing assessment, case management, and other direct services for over 280,000 people with developmental disabilities and their families. They also purchase and coordinate community-based services and supports. Developmental disabilities include autism, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities.
All regional center employees were safely evacuated. However, one of the victims was Daniel Kaufman, an employee at a coffee shop at the conference room. The shop was independently owned and operated, and leased the space from Inland. It employed multiple people with developmental disabilities. We are relieved nobody served by the regional center was harmed. But the death of Daniel Kaufman and the County Department of Public Health employees targeted in this attack fills us with sorrow, knowing so many families are in mourning.
We are united in love and compassion for all affected by this tragedy. The outpouring of support continues to be truly humbling. The developmental disabilities community is a family, and in these times of crisis, we come even closer together.
The regional centers will continue to focus on ensuring the safety and well-being of the people they serve, their families, and their employees. Each center will be working with its local community to ensure their security and support needs continue to be met. They will also continue to work closely with the state Department of Developmental Services to optimize emergency response protocols.
Inland Regional Center is currently closed, and expects to reopen on Monday.