It's 2015 and National Access Awareness Week is here again. Started in 1988 at the request of Rick Hanson following his Man in Motion World Tour, the week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the value and contributions of people with disabilities in the community, the workplace and the arts as well as the ongoing need to pay attention to and address accessibility.
After more than 25 years of raising awareness, things have certainly started to change for the better. Accessible transportation and curb cuts (ramps) are more commonplace. An increasing number of elevators have braille marked buttons and audio call-outs for floors. With accessibility legislation in Ontario (the AODA), both the public and private sectors are required to pay attention to planning, and large organizations must publish accessibility plans and follow standards for customer service, employment, information & communications, transportation and the built environment.
While these changes are encouraging, there is still much more to do before we are universally accessible for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and other disabilities. 27 years of awareness has brought us this far. But before we can become fully accessible, it will take much more than awareness.
It will take action!
We think it’s time to re-create the week as National Access ACTION Week and challenge individuals, businesses and organizations to take specific action to address accessibility barriers. That might bring us further, and faster toward full accessibility.
Let us know what YOU think. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.