Of late, AFB has been celebrating many milestones. Most prominently, we saw the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act earlier this summer, and we have a couple on the horizon, including AFB’s Centennial as well as some exciting forthcoming news concerning the Helen Keller Archive in celebration of the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Today marks the ninth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day designed to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion for people with different disabilities.
By “accessibility,” we mean the design and development of a website (or app, or any digital tool) that allows everyone, including people with disabilities, to independently use and interact with it, as well as create with it and contribute to it.
With COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the news, organizations like AFB are taking steps to flatten the curve. From shifting events from live to virtual, and shutting down schools, to restricting approved business travel, everyone is now looking to make more training materials available online. As we move our interactions to the digital space, it is important we bring the same inclusive lens to our decision-making as we do when planning face-to-face interactions that use technology.
The ability for all Americans to participate in the voting process is vital to ensuring our collective voices across the U.S. are heard. If candidates don't offer accessible websites or platforms for people with disabilities to participate, they nix our right to engage in decisions that impact us.
*Special Note: Have you booked your hotel room yet? Rooms are going fast! Our room block expires on February 4 or whenever rooms sell out, so book soon to avoid disappointment: online reservations or call 888-236-2427 and reference our conference to get the group rate.
At the American Foundation for the Blind, we were heartened to read that the Department of Justice confirmed clearly and unequivocally, in a September 26 letter to congressional representatives, that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to online accommodations.
HR620—A "Solution" in Search of a Problem
One of my favorite assistive technology podcasts recently made me grit my teeth, again, over the passage of congressional bill H.R. 620. H.R. 620 is titled the "ADA Education and Reform Bill."
Image left to right, M. R. Barnett, American Foundation for the Blind, Executive Director, Helen Keller and Eric T. Boulter, American Foundation for the Overseas Blind, Field Director. Celebrating Helen's 75th birthday with cake, 1955.
Helen Keller circa 1893.