Yesterday, May 21st, the accessibility community celebrated Global Accessibility Day. This international day of observance aims to educate the greater world about establishing truly inclusive communities, thus making an accessible world.
To me, this idea of a completely accessible world extends far beyond designing communities and environments that encourages healthy living for everyone regardless of age, disability, and other limiting status. An inclusive environment means more than inspiring software and hardware developers to ensure their products meets the needs of the blind, deaf, mobility impaired, or any other condition that requires adaptive features just to interact with a device.
To me global accessibility is when I possess the ability to interact with the world around me no different than others. It means a cultural shift in beliefs where everyone views disablement and impairments as a normal or natural part of life, and efforts should be focused on accepting and inclusion, as much as efforts are made to “cure” our abnormalities.
These concepts represent the basic principals outlined in the US Declaration of Independence by stating, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The emotion behind Global Accessibility Day should not be limited to May 21st, but to every day of our lives. Ask yourself at the end of each day these two questions:
- , What have you done to invite someone different from yourself to feel apart of your community?
- What have you done over the course of the day that potentially created a barrier for someone?
Be honest with yourself as you reflect upon these questions, for one requires us to step outside our normal methods of being and the other represents our daily routines.