Tagged with: accessibility ADA awareness disability education inclusion life
I am sure we all were excited to see the Grammy awards last week. Personally, I could care less. I am actually someone that does not watch that much T.V. I did for some reason want to watch the tributes to David Bowie, BB King and Glenn Frey. I am not that big a fan of any of them but I do appreciate their work and success. Plus, like many, I was shocked by their passing away. However, as I switched back and forth to catch them I did happen to see Mr. Stevie Wonder present an award and make the statement of the year!
Now, what struck me more than anything was that Stevie was joking how only HE had to be the one to read the card. He joked about it because he was the only that could read the Braille that would announce the winner. What is probably unknown is how big of a fight Stevie had to put up to get the academy to place the Braille on the card. I am sure he was told just to memorize the name of the winner. Which probably led to the statement of the night: “I just have to say before saying the winner that we need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability.”
Stevie is a wonder! He was able to broadcast to the millions that tuned in and make a statement that people for over 25 and even 40 years have been trying to make. To get a nation to understand that our world is full of differences. Most importantly we have a responsibility to address the needs of the 50 plus million Americans with disabilities. How fortunate that Stevie was able to use this platform to address the concerns that many have been stating for decades.
So, what is next? Good question, since this moment had twitter all buzzing the next question of course is education and action. As citizens we must know about the ADA, section 504 the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Dear colleague letter. Not to mention having an understanding of Universal design. Once we learn we can have an understanding of disability etiquette then we as a nation can have a better understanding of the culture of people with disability. Once there is understanding then we can have action.
So, what is going on in your neighborhood? I once had a person tell me that they do not see any people with disabilities in their neighborhood. In response I asked him if they had any curb cuts or sidewalk ramp. They said no. This would be the first place that any citizen can make a change in their neighborhood. This is the first step to inclusion and making a difference. It does not have to be televised to millions of people it can be in a small neighborhood in your community. Now that would be the best statement that you could make. It would make winners out of all of us.