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  • Are we going backward when it comes to access?

    Posted by deann-r on March 22, 2024 at 10:31 am

    I had it all planned out. After calling to place my takeout order I’d bribe someone by sharing the pub pickles to pick it up. What? You don’t offer takeout on the weekends? Never mind then. How disappointing. I was looking forward to the lobster mac & cheese they had on special and the pub pickles everyone’s been raving about. 

    What I’m struggling with isn’t the fact I’m missing out on mac & cheese, although it still sounds bomb, it’s that actions like not offering services exclude not only myself but a whole segment of the population who can’t dine in. In my rural area, the only accessible transportation doesn’t run past 6 and has very restrictive weekend hours, so even if I wanted to dine in I can’t. 

    In a post-Covid world, I had hoped compassion and understanding would carry over, but it seems like we’re going backward as people resume the hustle and bustle of their lives. The funny thing is I don’t think people realize it. For them, it’s a business decision. That’s what I was told when my pharmacy stopped delivering. That’s what I was told when a downtown shop moved into a basement space. That’s why places stopped offering takeout. 

    It doesn’t feel right just sitting back and watching it happen, but I don’t have the solution.  

    Should I chalk it up to living with a disability?

    mike-huddleston replied 2 weeks, 2 days ago 6 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • alex-gonzalez

    Member
    March 28, 2024 at 2:30 pm

    Maybe things are more accessible than ever? Try Uber eats or DoorDash.

    • deann-r

      Member
      March 29, 2024 at 10:28 am

      Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately those options are limited in my area. Yes, I agree the world is more accessible than ever, that’s why it’s so sad for me to see it slipping backwards. There’s a Mexican Market opening soon and the first thing I noticed was the step.

  • alyssa-silva

    Member
    March 28, 2024 at 8:53 pm

    Do you have delivery services like DoorDash in your area? I know you said it’s rural where you live. The problem I have with DoorDash and other delivery services is that they upcharge everything. Compounded with fees and tips, it’s so expensive. Many disabled folks don’t have the luxury of that, so it isn’t always the best option. I only use the services occasionally, though I’d definitely benefit from using them more frequently if they were more affordable. It’s super convenient.

    I definitely thought the changes during the pandemic (i.e. takeout at every restaurant, curbside delivery) would be here to stay. But I understand that businesses have to make decisions based on their bottom line. Just unfortunate that it’s sometimes at the expense of accessibility and inclusivity for the disabled.

    • deann-r

      Member
      March 29, 2024 at 10:35 am

      Yeah, it’s definitely only something you can do as a special treat. Unfortunately the options are pretty limited for food delivery services in my area. Hopefully it will grow in demand and become more popular. Is there a specific one in your area you gravitate to?

      • alyssa-silva

        Member
        April 3, 2024 at 1:20 pm

        We only have DoorDash and Uber Eats in my area as far as I know. I stick to DoorDash mainly because they don’t have trouble finding my house. I don’t live in a secluded area, but my house isn’t on many navigational systems. It’s so strange. My address is number 7, but people deliver things to 70 all the time. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  • eric-ovelgone

    Member
    April 2, 2024 at 3:03 pm

    I have felt like we, the disabled community, has been going backwards at least since 1999. To be fair, the disabled community made huge leaps and bounds through the 80s and 90s…but since then, I feel like the whole world has gone backwards. In the 90s, the mall was a great place where someone with a disability could go, feel free to roam, meet people, shop, eat, all in a wheelchair friendly environment. People would actually “hang-out”, talk and meet in person with others including people with disabilities. I remember hanging out with friends being introduced to friends of friends whom at first felt uncomfortable never being around someone with a disability and becoming friends by the end of the evening. Could do everything in one place. Yes, transportation was a problem but buses began adding accessible lines. Now…I feel trapped at home. People, no longer seeing and meeting people with disabilities in person have become downright hostile. All you have to do is read a message board on any news article about someone with a disability and it will really make one wonder what happened. Covid I think made people even more hostile as healthy individuals were suddenly being asked to mask to protect vulnerable communities like the disabled. Everyone is more isolated surrounded by like-minded people of similar abilities and beliefs. Slowly disability access is being repackaged as optional special access. Not sure of a solution .

    • mike-huddleston

      Member
      April 4, 2024 at 3:43 pm

      Please explain what you mean by, “disability access is being repackaged as optional special access”? I have no idea what this means and would like to understand. And only part of the reason masks were required were to protect the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. If that was viewed as protecting everyone with a disability, well, there’s no cure for stupid. That was quickly determined to not be a very effective mechanism to stop the spread, but rather protected the wearer more than anything else. Again, a pandemic where no roadmap existed, so caution, perhaps sometimes taken too far, was taken. Malls going away are just the way things have been trending over the last 20 years or so. It has absolutely nothing to do with taking away an accessible space for the disability community. Again, being a victim is not a pretty way to go through life.

      • eric-ovelgone

        Member
        April 5, 2024 at 2:18 pm

        It is only my opinion, and I certainly maybe misjudging things as it is more that it ‘feels’ like we are going backwards rather than being able to provide a quantitative evidence. I felt like in the past, when I encountered a situation in which accessibility was an issue, people were more willing to rally around and make things work and try to understand the situation. Now, I feel more like there is the attitude that any reasonable request for assistance is like asking for special services or as if one is being difficult. The internet may have something to do with this as people no longer filter their opinions and if they have any prejudices against the disabled, they feel more free to vocalize it. I sense this most strongly in articles dealing with the disabled. I guess in the past, if i had a problem, i had to confront someone in person whereas today, issues are largely dealt with online. If your at the door of an inaccessible restaurant for example, it is far more likely the owner will quickly figure out how to accommodate you than finding out online a restaurant is inaccessible and writing them.

      • mike-huddleston

        Member
        April 5, 2024 at 4:21 pm

        Thanks for your response and clarification, Eric. I think my issue is framing it as going backwards. Perhaps, and my opinion, perhaps we aren’t moving forward as quickly as we’d like, but that doesn’t mean we’re moving backward. Yes, by all means, point out issues with accessibility, and raising awareness is a part of that. I personally have not experienced things moving backward. That doesn’t mean things are perfect or where they should be.

  • mike-huddleston

    Member
    April 4, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    Sorry, maybe it’s where I live, but I don’t get this impression at all. And I’m not a fan of trying to make myself a victim. Access is not going backwards just because businesses that had to make accommodations for EVERYONE to even stay in business during COVID, like curbside delivery, eliminated those options. It sounds like you may not have a lot of options, and I understand the frustration with that. but I sincerely find this whole topic and some of the responses difficult to process. Try calling the business or better, going by when convenient for you and actually talk with the owner or manager. Explain your situation and see if some kind of compromise is an option. You say they don’t do takeout on the weekends, is a weekday a possibility. Staffing someone, or several people, to handle takeout on their busiest days may not be feasible for them. It’s hard for people to hire and retain in the service industry, so maybe this was a decision they made to remain viable.

    There is the ADA and the subsequent updates that have made things considerably better for all of us. That was preceded by the Architectural Barriers Act in 1968. Is it perfect? Nope, but that’s why revisions happen.

    Stop being a victim. Don’t allow others to make you one either. Be your own best advocate as it benefits you and others. And just because changes made during a once in a century or lifetime pandemic are not persisted, it certainly doesn’t mean things are going backward.

  • tracy-odell

    Member
    April 5, 2024 at 10:51 am

    I don’t think it’s fair to say someone is thinking like a “victim” because they notice something is inaccessible or that accessibility has been taken away. It’s true to say that we all are going backwards when it comes to accessibility!

    I’m 66 years old now, with SMA type II, and I can remember how hard the community fought in the 1970s-1990s for accessible services, buildings, direct funding for attendant services and more. In Ontario, we even had a dozen or so accessible apartments buildings with 12 to 16 units reserved for people with physical disabilities who also needed attendant services. 🙀The attendant services were shared with all of us who lived in our own, individual, accessible apartment. These became known as “Supportive Housing Units” and now Supportive Housing has nothing to do with accessibility. It has to do with housing people who are able-bodied but need support for addiction and mental illness (which are also included as disabilities).

    People with disabilities remain on the margins of a larger, designated group of marginalized people. I live in Ontario, Canada, where we have accessibility legislation, but our accessibility laws pale in comparison to the ADA. Because our legislation does not require anybody to respond to complaints, let alone actively confirm compliance, many violations go under the radar and are not addressed. In fact, it is the American legislation that has the biggest positive impact on accessibility in many ways. If I travel to the states, for instance, I don’t have to worry about hotel rooms being accessible or having accessible transportation. I hope, hope, HOPE for American law to require accessible air travel, so I can have a way to travel in an airplane without getting physically harmed with all the transferring we are forced to do now or having my wheelchair damaged or even lost in transit. I advocated for this in 1980, and the government representatives chided me for being unrealistic, is that it couldn’t happen “overnight”. If they had committed to accessible air travel back then, what would it look like today, 40 years later?

    Younger generations won’t have experienced a time when there were no curb cuts at all, and we dashed from driveway to driveway just to cross the street. Sometimes this resulted in taking a series of long detours, draining our wheelchair batteries and adding to our travel time. It also put us at risk of being hit by a car, since the public would not expect us to be riding on the road.

    If anyone with a disability notices deficiencies in accessibility, I don’t believe it is fair to judge them as “negative.” They are being observant, and critical. Some people with disabilities may get uncomfortable if we get vocal. I used to be one of them. I just wanted to blend in, and so if someone made a fuss, I felt centred out. But even if some people might cringe, it is important in a democracy to speak out and remind people that everybody deserves to be included – in large things and small.

    Today, seniors are our biggest allies in advocating for 100% of how things to be accessible, for community options to living in nursing homes, and for accessible shops and restaurants. Yet ironically, back in the day, seniors would not join our advocacy efforts because it made them uncomfortable. They felt it was up to us to modify the environment, and that people should not be required to pay modifications for the minority of people who might need them. Oh, and they don’t consider themselves to have a disability, just “a bit of trouble” getting around or understanding others who are mumbling. People with disabilities, in fact, have done a huge service for baby boomers with our advocacy. Now seniors are supporting accessibility causes in swelling numbers.

    That’s my Canadian 2 cents’ worth, which is probably only 1.4 cents American🙂. The bottom line, for me, is to speak up so we do not lose any of the hard-won rights we fought for, and to support people with disabilities who insist on accessibility, revealing every crack, gap and chasm that remains.

    • mike-huddleston

      Member
      April 5, 2024 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks Tracy. I value and appreciate your response, thoughts, and perspective.

      That said, I think I have a fundamental disagreement with framing it as “going backward”. As mentioned in my response to Eric, not moving forward as fast or as much as we’d like is not the same thing as moving backward. Framing the removal of necessary conveniences that were implemented for everyone, not just those in the compromised or disabled community during the pandemic as moving backward and an afront to the disabled community, is in fact making oneself a victim. I simply don’t agree with that and refuse to be a victim or allow others to place me in that category. When we do that, it reinforces the stereotype or bias people have with those of us within our community. It’s my opinion, and I hope you respect that as much as I respect yours.

      One main thing that makes this difficult is the umbrella that we are under in our community. I was the chair for the employee resource group for employees with disabilities at the company I retired from at the end of 2022. There were over 42,000 employees. One thing unique in our community that was not evident on other ERGs is the broad range of disabilities. We have mobility related concerns, as well as vision, hearing, mental, neurodiversity, etc. There is simply no one size fits all approach to our community. From a business perspective, that can be overwhelming when trying to accommodate everyone. The ADA is nowhere near perfect, but it lays a solid foundation. Companies that meet the bare minimum requirements present a whole slew of issues for those of us with accessibility difficulties.

      Related to this is the whole “anti woke” nonsense. Woke was always intended to be a raising of awareness of other’s circumstances, history, or current challenges, and to develop an understanding and potentially increase empathy. However, it has been co-opted and turned into a pejorative, which means anyone in ANY of the diversity groups, including the disability community, are lumped together. I still don’t think that means moving backward. I still won’t allow myself to be viewed as “less” or a victim.

      And it’s unfair to imply that I’m saying that we should just accept accessibility issues. I don’t mean that and if I implied it, that certainly was not the intention. Raise issues and concerns…I clearly suggested directly communicating with the business, preferably in person if that is possible. Again, kind of what Eric was describing in his response to me. If a new business is not accessible, that concern can and should be raised.

      TO ME: Going backward would be no medical/pharmaceutical companies pursuing treatments. It would mean eliminating building access. It would mean removing curb cut outs. It would mean accessibility was being removed rather than improved. It would mean airlines weren’t actively considering modifying their policies and accommodations for travelers within our community. These are not my experiences and observations, but it doesn’t mean things can’t be better. We should push forward, not give up. Does that mean everyone or every company is in compliance? Certainly not. Does it mean we’re better off than we were? Absolutely yes.

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