Inclusion is not hard to do on events and other types of meetings. Accessibility is vital to our society. To cover accessibility, intention matters. Inclusion of this most impacted starts with accessibility in all its forms. While it may not be possible to be 100% accessible, honesty matters in communicating what is and is not doable.
All of these elements are best when considered early in planning if not before. There will be items that are not possible due to budgetary constraints and real issues. We live in a society that has a long history of ableism, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and more. Progress has been made but we still have a long way to go. Let’s all commit to starting to move forward even if it is new and different to our current experience. The world will become a much better place when our intentions are to include and not about what is safe or comfortable to do.
Here is a start to a list of items to address:
- Is the venue physically accessible?
- Transit information
- Childcare or environment for children
- Directions to the room (written for screen readers and others who may have limited strength of signal)
- Wheelchair, walker, cane accessibility (strollers and bikes can also be included here)
- Parking (including ADA spots and distance to venue)
- Bathrooms (including all gender availability)
- Scent policy
- Language (ASL and other languages offered, large print, amplified sound, etc)
- Also a statement around accessibility and a direct contact is useful for anyone with human needs and questions about the event
Written by Michele Mashburn, Director of San Jose Peace and Justice Center. A HUGE thank you to my many mentors and community members, including Sins Invalid and their Disability Justice Primer, Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America and many more.