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Sunday, July 12, 2020

THIS BLOG ABOUT DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION HAS 245,000 READERS

THANKS TO THE NEARLY QUARTER OF A MILLION UNIQUE VISITORS
The name of the blog is Urban Travel, Sustainability and Accessibility.
Certainly, its 2,700 published posts have covered urban design, world travel, resiliency strategies and the fight for more universal design and inclusive mobility for people with disabilities.
But the title could just as easily be: 100+ words of daily thoughts on inclusion and diversity.
In our world, people of all colors and physical abilities are at the center of the table.
We believe the best art, science and community is created by diverse representation of backgrounds, belief systems and faiths (and/or the right to practice no organized religion.)
We travel the globe to learn more about the people who walk it.
The images here are from Alexandria, Egypt.



Saturday, July 11, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE 6

TO LOCAL ADVOCACY
Tamley strongly encourages interested advocates to find time to attend public hearings and town halls. 

Be persistent, but polite.

Build up a rapport.

“I’m amazed at how many people don’t show up to a city budget meeting or a transit authority board meeting,” she says.

“You have a captive audience and you have all the staff that can resolve your problem or support your policy initiative right there — be a part of it.”

If you want to take your involvement to the next level, getting on a board or committee can lead to even more dramatic results. 

The more active you become with local government, the more influence you will have over creating positive change.

Friday, July 10, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE 5

TO LOCAL ADVOCACY
Once you’ve done your basic research, it’s time to hit the ground rolling: meet your representatives, get on committees, get involved. 

Tamley says nothing beats connecting personally with the elected representative for your part of the city. 

“They know your neighborhood, so they know who to contact,” she says. 

“We work with aldermen all the time — their staff contacts the proper city office and works to solve a problem that their constituent is having.”

Call your representative or councilperson’s office and make an appointment. 

Don’t be surprised if after a brief meet-and-greet with the elected official, you are handed off to a staff member. 

This is not a bad thing. 

That staffer is the one who will contact city employees on your behalf. 

Also, they know what part of the city budget can be used to fix your problem or fund your initiative.

Constituent services is their job — they will keep the pressure on the city manager or department head to ensure your issue progresses toward resolution.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE 4

TO LOCAL ADVOCACY
Although Karen Tamley is now the president and CEO of Access Living, until recently she was the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in Chicago. 

She says it pays to know how to interface with your local government.

“Know what’s available to you. Many cities have 311, a line you can call to state your issue.

You get a case number so you can track it,’’ says Tamley, a wheelchair user. Many cities have a smart phone app that you can use to capture your issue in pictures and send it in to be addressed.

It’s easy to document things with a camera phone.

Take a picture and caption it to precisely explain the issue you are addressing. 

This will help city inspectors and repair workers to pinpoint the location and impress elected and appointed officials that you meet with.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE 3

TO LOCAL ADVOCACY
“Unlike any other civil rights laws, the ADA not only requires that an entity not treat people differently because of their disability,” says Matthew W. Dietz. 

“It also requires these entities to affirmatively modify their premises or policies and procedures to ensure that the person with a disability has an equal opportunity to get the same benefit as a nondisabled person.” 

Dietz is a founding member and litigation director of Disability Independence Group, a Miami-based nonprofit that promotes recruitment, education and employment of people with disabilities.

“When a complaint or request for accommodation is received, then it will go to a person who hopefully has knowledge of the ADA,” says Dietz.

 “If the person with a disability disagrees with the finding, then they will have a procedure to go through.”

An Interview with Andy Imparato, DRC’s new Executive Director by Debra Ruh



#ADA30 #ThanksToTheADA #BecauseOfTheADA #WeMatter #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs #Equity #Equality #CripTheVote #DisabilityPrideMonth #disabledNews

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A SQUEAKY WHEEL GUIDE 2

TO LOCAL ADVOCACY
Knowledge is power, and it’s easier than ever to power up. 

Most local governments have a place on their websites where you can type in your address and find out who represents you. 

While visiting your municipality’s website, check out how the city is organized — is it run by a strong mayor or a city manager? 

Who are the key department heads?

A municipal government’s transition and barrier removal plans spell out its goals for accessibility.
These documents are public record — meaning you have a right to see and review them. 

When the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, the Department of Justice required public entities that employ more than 50 people to have an ADA coordinator, an ADA policy and a grievance policy. 

While too few cities have full-time coordinators plus appropriate staff, most at least identify an employee acting in that capacity.