Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join the first AFB Town Hall on the impact of COVID-19 on access to healthcare, transportation, and voting for Americans who are blind or have low vision. A complete archive will be available soon, for anyone who missed the live conversation. As promised, here are some of the resources shared by the presenter and attendees:
- Aira announced support for voting in the upcoming election.
- Another visual assistance option is the BeMyEyes app, which is available for both iOS and Android.
- Hadley's podcast has featured several episodes related to COVID-19, including voting with a visual impairment and safely visiting the doctor during a pandemic.
- The ADA National Network has an archive of their webinar on access to voting that reviewed how the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws are intended to ensure that people with disabilities can have their voices heard.
- The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recently released a policy report on COVID-19 and the Disability Vote.
- The most accessible COVID-19 statistics resource we are aware of is https://cvstats.net.
- www.ready.gov/disability has good emergency preparedness tips for individuals with disabilities.
- A group of returned Peace Corps volunteers assembled a list of local and national free or discounted rides to the polls or ballot drop-off locations.
- The Texas Talking Book Program has pulled together COVID-19 resources on topics including mental health, disability, resources for those with visual impairments, telephone resources, virtual resources—not all are Texas-specific.
- In June, AFB's Public Policy and Research Institute, working in coalition with the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, wrote to the National Governors Association to express the needs of public transportation users with disabilities as states across the country implemented reopening policies.
- AFB compiled COVID-19 resources on our blog at www.afb.org/COVID19.
- As Dr. Rosenblum noted, the coalition of researchers hopes that the Flatten Inaccessibility report can serve as a powerful tool for advocacy, and she offered Five Ways to Use the Flatten Inaccessibility Report to Raise Awareness in Your Community.
- Other participants noted that if you experience any accessibility issues on the day you vote, contact your state protection and advocacy office; they can offer day-of legal assistance. If you want to find out how to advocate for accessible voting going forward, check out the National Coalition for Accessible Voting.
- For planned visits to the hospital, contact their Risk Management Office to explain your needs.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the discussion. We hope you can join us for the next town hall on October 29, focused on employment and technology in honor of National Disabilities Employment Awareness Month (#NDEAM), and the third and final town hall on November 10, focusing on education. If you're a Twitter user, you can share your thoughts with the hashtag #AFBTownHall:
Town Hall #2: October 29 from 2-3 PM Eastern
Topics: Employment and Technology Presenters: Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, AFB, Director of Research
Sarah Malaier, Public Policy & Research Advisor
Register for AFB Town Hall #2: Employment and Technology
Many thanks to LHH, sponsor of the AFB Town Hall on Employment and Technology.
Town Hall #3: November 10 from 2-3 PM Eastern
Topic: Education Across the Lifespan
Presenters: Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, AFB, Director of Research
Dr. Tina S. Herzberg, University of South Carolina Upstate, Professor
Dr. Tiffany Wild, The Ohio State University, Associate Professor
Register for Town Hall #3: Education Across the Lifespan
AFB is grateful to JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust for their financial support of the Town Hall Series.