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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Christy, Nancy
Portraits of strength,   pp. 12-21

Page 12

1   0 
Potrit        of 
Thog  he wo as owe of th  former 
WisStre Gril and now a conulin 
fir  cale   "Maigu People Plce  and 
Food, Nac  Chit  h s  bee   a  nainal 
recgnze  pioneer in hepngt 
iopoat people wit   diailte  into 
th  wokpa. Herw  prsent he  soy 
and0 potat of som  reakal p.e-ople 
BY ~ ~ NA C  CH IT  PH T SB  LEN *U 
worthwhile pursuit of sustainability, human capital is the 
I          resource most often overlooked. So while the roles of place and
food at the intersection of business and values are important to the mission
of my company, Meaningful People, Places and Food, it is no accident that
people come first. 
People with disabilities remain a criti- 
cally underutilized and undervalued 
resource. Stigma and stereotyping are 
widespread, limiting access to normal 
community living. The result is a 
profound misunderstanding of the capa- 
bilities and contributions of people with 
disabilities. Countering this requires an 
expanded notion of community and 
inclusion. And among the most powerful 
tools of change are positive images. 
At my former restaurant, the Wilson 
Street Grill, where a third of the work- 
force were people with disabilities, 
these images were a basic component of 
our business. The Grill was a neighbor- 
hood restaurant-the neighborhood 
being Madison's business center, the 
Capitol Square. It was an experiment in 
creating a welcoming, sophisticated 
environment with high-quality food at 
reasonable prices. We decided to 
employ people with disabilities, 
including those with comparatively 
severe mental illnesses. And what we 
found, for our business, our customers, 
and our other employees, was that our 
employees with disabilities were among 

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