10 Actions Your Community Can Take to Further Disability Inclusion
It may take local governments to get major accessibility projects underway, but a few determined citizens can go a long way toward pushing progress. Here’s a list of ten simple things any group of individuals in a community can do to make their community more accessible and inclusive.
- Host a letter-writing party to your state’s BMV and encourage them to include education on the purpose of the access aisle next to an accessible parking space. BraunAbility was successful in including this as part of the most recent driver’s manual in our home state of Indiana just by bringing it to the attention of the state’s BMV!
- Encourage businesses and organizations in your community to adopt the new universal symbol of accessibility in their parking spaces and purchase accessible parking signs that don’t use the word ‘handicap’.
- Find a business or individual in need of a ramp and organize a volunteer ramp build. BraunAbility partners with SAWS to build ramps for low-income homeowners in our local communities every year. Find out if SAWS has a program in your state!
- Fundraise for the installation of inclusive playground equipment at a community park. You don’t need to have enough money for a playground remodel; start small with an accessible swing and add a new piece of equipment each year.
- Encourage your local government to get serious about policing for abuse of accessible parking spaces.
- Make sure your local library has copies of books on the topic of disability rights. Better yet – make sure they’re displayed prominently every July in honor of the signing of the ADA. Here are three favorites: Nothing About Us Without Us: Oppression and Empowerment by James Charlton; No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging New Civil Rights Movement by Joseph P. Shapiro; Being Heumann by Judith Heumann.
- Ask your local park services to ensure there’s at least one accessible picnic shelter and table available for wheelchair users.
- Volunteer help organizations or businesses repaint faded accessible parking spaces and take away the “I didn’t see any blue lines” excuse from offenders. Most paint or hardware stores have a standard blue paint for parking spaces.
- Help retail establishments understand that minor changes in how their stores or restaurants are laid out make all the difference in the world for people with mobility challenges. Curb cuts next to accessible parking, wider aisleways and doors, no clutter on the floor could help guarantee customer loyalty.
- Ask your local school systems how they teach about the disability rights movement. Sruthi Subramanian, a high school senior from Minnesota, created a brief, award-winning documentary on the history of disability rights that would make a great discussion starter for a middle or high school classroom.
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