Here is what you need to know
From the aggregator: By popular demand, we will blog the Blind Coloradan more frequently with fewer articles. We hope you will read and share. In this issue, we spotlight our work on the 16th Street Mall project, a fine article from our Boulder Chapter President, and a National Convention presentation from the Blind History Lady.
First, please participate in our NFBCO 6 Dot Dash. This fabulous, fun, family fundraiser will happen Saturday morning, September 10, at the Colorado Center for the Blind. We thank some fantastic sponsors, Vanda Pharmaceutical, Blackstone Consulting Inc., Comcast, LaBarre Law, and others. We will be spotlighting these great organizations in upcoming blogs. We thank them for supporting our NFBCO and CCB youth education programs. You can register to participate in the 6 Dot Dash. http://6dotdashco.com/
More than two years ago, NFBCO led the effort to ensure that the new 16th street mall would be accessible to everyone. We received the following report on the latest work from Dan Burke.
It’s the 32nd anniversary of President George H. W. Bush signing the ADA into law, and about 20 members of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado, including instructors and students from the Colorado Center for the Blind, celebrated with a bit of good advocacy on Denver’s 16th Street Mall this morning. We put canes and shoes on a mock-up of the granite pavers planners hope to install on the mall as part of the nearly 3-year reconstruction of the project, whose preliminary phases are already underway.
This is the latest activity resulting from the NFB’s nearly three years of involvement and advocacy regarding the redesign and reconstruction of the mall. The idea of a mock-up of the proposed design for the border of the transit and pedestrian areas, which will be curbless, was first put forward in our earliest meetings with the City of Denver, the Downtown Association, and RTD.
The four-decade-old mall needs a lot of maintenance both below and above ground. For the above-ground part, the redesign that will mean the removal of the curbs along the transit pathway where the mall shuttles run is the part that matters most to us in the NFB of Colorado, and indeed other blind mall visitors, as well as those with other disabilities. The question the mock-up was intended to help answer, in our minds, is will the border between the pedestrian area and the lanes where the shuttles drive be distinct enough tactilely to our canes and feet to alert us that we are at the edge.
This first focus group for blind mall users was hosted by PCL Construction in partnership with the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. The planners gave us a sneak peek at a mock-up of the granite pavers they hope to use. The idea we tested was a border of rougher granite pavers along the shuttle driving area, beyond which is a slight slope down to the drain pan (a shallow gutter), which would carry away rain and snowmelt.Planners collected feedback from all of the focus group participants. This first of three focus groups were intended to give blind folks the chance to test the design materials. The next focus group on August 10 will bring in other groups, and a final public look will happen later next month.
We commend the mall project planners for listening and responding to our advocacy. Mall planners gave us the mock-up we asked for today, and it served the purpose we all wanted – to determine if the border pavers would be detectable enough for blind mall users. This is NFB advocacy at its best.
Disability Pride and the ADA
Reflections on access from the human hand on the harness
From the aggregator: Maryann Migloirelli has served as the long-time president of our Boulder chapter. She also works for the state of Colorado. Prior to the 32nd anniversary of the ADA, Maryann was asked to write an article for the agency newsletter. Here it is.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was and still is groundbreaking legislation granting people with disabilities access to public accommodations. Most countries in the world do not have this kind of access written into their laws.
For me, as a woman who is blind and uses a guide dog, access opens many doors that used to be closed, whether intentionally or not. My colleges needed to make textbooks and classroom activities, including exams accessible since I was unable to see the print. Restaurants and other public places need to accommodate my guide dog as long as he is clean and well-behaved when visiting them. If websites aren’t screen reader friendly, I will not be able to conduct business or use them as all the sighted world does. Without these and many other requirements, the world would be a very small and limited place for me and many of my coworkers and friends, as it is in countries where disability inclusion is not part of everyday life.
When most people see Braille in public places they think, “That’s cool,” or “How do they read that,” or “that’s for the people who can’t see,” and all these thoughts are correct. Having Braille in public places makes life more accessible just like having alt-text on pictures, graphics that are properly labeled, and links with real words and proper coding for screen readers makes the internet usable.
Colorado has taken huge steps forward thanks to the passage and implementation of House Bill 21-1110, which requires that all state and local government websites be made fully accessible both internal and customer-facing by July of 2024. This matters for many reasons. Because the internal websites will be made accessible, more people with disabilities can pursue government jobs that used to be inaccessible to them. Building accessibility into customer-facing sites will give many people access to information and government services that were inaccessible, most recently up-to-date Covid19 information and testing.
While all of this is awesome and commendable, there are still times and places where the ADA applies, but people make the illegal choice to deny access. As a person who chooses to travel with a guide dog, I spend much of my time educating the public on the access laws for my dog. Simply put my dog is welcome almost everywhere everyone can go. My guide dog and I have traveled on planes, trains, buses, and cruise ships with minimal fuss and maximum enjoyment. The one transportation option that still gives us trouble is ride services, namely Lyft and Uber. While I have taken hundreds of rides using both services, I still encounter refusals almost on a weekly basis from drivers who believe that they don’t need to take my dog in their cars. There are several ways these denials happen. Sometimes drivers see my dog when they pull up. And then they just drive away and cancel the ride. Other times they pull up, and when I walk up to their car, they give excuses for why my dog can’t ride in their car. Some drivers don’t even bother with the excuses, they just say that they won’t take my dog and drive off. With any of the drivers who at least stop I try politely to educate them about Lyft and Uber policies and about the laws they are violating with their behavior, but their choices are their own, and they aren’t really punished for the violations.
Although much has been made more accessible in America thanks to the ADA and accompanying legislation, we still have plenty to do to ensure inclusivity for everyone. Join me, and together we can make Colorado and America a more accessible place for all.
The Blind History lady speaks at the 2022 convention of the National Federation of The Blind in New Orleans
From the aggregator: In upcoming blogs, we will feature reflections from our colleagues who attended the 2022 national convention. Peggy Chong, the blind history lady, posted this on Colorado Talk. Her presentation was so thoughtful and dynamic that we wanted you to see this post and hope you will listen to her presentation. It is important that we remember our history.
On Sunday, July 10, 2022 I had the pleasure of addressing the national convention of the National Federation of the Blind in support of the proposed project to launch a “History of the Blind Movement Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. In my presentation, I touched on several states. I thought you would like to listen to the speech.
Here is a link to the audio of my presentation, approximately 20 minutes in length.
Here is a notice we received from Maryann Migliorelli
August audio described events in the metro area
August 7 Sponge Bob Square Pants - Boulder Dinner Theatre (BDTStage).
Tickets: 303-449-6000. http://www.bdtstage.com/
$45 discounted tickets are on sale on 8/2/22.
Tour at 11:00 A.M. shows at noon.
August 13 Meow Wolf audio described tour
$35 tickets on sale. Purchase for 10:00 AM and notify the tour desk of reserving audio described tour spots.
Arrival at 10:00 A.M. tour at 10:30 A.M.
August 20 Phamaly Theatre Company presents Rocky Horror show interactive—Su Teatro
Tickets: 303-563-0005 http://www.phamaly.org/
Screen reader users call the box office for tickets. Tickets $40 Prop bags $5
Tour 6:30 P.M. show 7:30 P.M.
August 24-27: Reelabilities Film Festival at the Jewish Community Center Mizel Center for Arts and Culture.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 24 AT 7:00 P.M. FILM: THE SPECIALS.
THURSDAY AUGUST 25 AT 6:00 P.M. 6000 WAITING AND NOT GOING QUIETLY.
FRIDAY AUGUST 26 AT SEE THROUGH, ONLY I CAN HEAR, CRUTCH.
SATURDAY AUGUST 27 4 P.M. ME TO PLAY AND 7 P.M. IMPERFECT.
Box Office Contact Information
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm & 1 hour before in-person screenings
Phone: 303.316.6360 Email: email@example.com
Please expect a response within 1-2 business days.
If you require an Audio Description device, please enter AUDIO as a discount code when purchasing your tickets.
Tier One: $5, Tier Two: $10, Tier Three: $15
August 28 Phamaly Theatre Company presents Rocky Horror show not interactive—Su Teatro
Tickets: 303-563-0005 http://www.phamaly.org/
Screen reader users call the box office for tickets. Tickets $40
Tour 11:00 A.M. show 2:00 P.M.
Forward always forward!