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Monday, October 13, 2008

The More Things Change...

...the more they remain the same. Why is it that despite legislation, petitions and campaigning, it remains difficult for those of us who are not able bodied to access public spaces? Steve Wilkinson recently made a short film for the Politics Show (see it, and his comments, here), in which he highlights access issues. As an able bodied disabled person (work that one out...), I'm horrified that my less mobile friends have to deal with such discrimination on a daily basis. If you feel the same, and you live in the UK, please consider signing the petition Steve has created here
Basically, the petition calls for amendments to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). To my mind, they seem relatively minor; but they would change many peoples' lives for the better.

I'm particularly disturbed by this issue because in 1980, I wrote a dissertation about the (then) Year of the Disabled and its effect on France. The issues that Steve highlights here are exactly the same as those that were highlighted for me decades ago. Like I said, plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose... and how sad it is that we have to ask for legislation to produce changes that represent best practice, and are very low cost.

ps don't forget to check out Steve's website... I should also say that I usually limit my rants to my personal blog ; you can find a few posts about depression there, if you are interested.


Chimera said...

Here from Sync and what a lovely blog! Fascinating, moving and energising.
Will be back.
Tanvir (Chimera

Bonnie Samuel said...

I do wish I could sign the petition, but not being a Brit....
I do fully support any legislation anywhere to not only make access easier for disabled people, but to also create awareness. I spent time in a wheelchair after an auto accident years ago. It was a real eye-opener to the physical obstacles and attitudes faced everyday by the disabled.

Connie Rose said...

Hi Marion,
We do have our ADA here (Americans with Disabilities Act) that went into effect close to 20 years ago, and for the most part it has worked pretty well to bring accessibility for the disabled up to par with able bodied folks.
But I couldn't agree with you more about positive change moving glacially -- things that would be good for people AND good for the economy. It's like, Duh! In the U.S., I feel strongly it's because the special interests (aka corporations) have enormous stakes in keeping things as they are for their own profit and greed. In their feeble minds they can't see that they might win bigger if they did the right things.
And then there are the social issues that have already been made into law that each new administration tries to erase or overthrow -- like abortion rights, or now, gay marriage...which was recently passed into law in California, but now there's an initiative on the November general election ballot to overturn that.
Blows my mind. Let's move on, is what I say. And stay out of people's private lives.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marion. I live in the US, so I can't sign the petition. But that said, even with the ADA, people still have to point out problems to the specific people that can fix them. Here's an example: took my father, who is in a wheelchair, to a doctor to have his artificial knees looked at, to see if there is any possibility that he could have new surgery or physical therapy to get out of the wheelchair.

Dad's wheelchair got stuck on the sill of the doorway going into the place. He'd pressed the button, got as far as he could and then couldn't raise the chair over the sill on his own.

I was parking the car while he tried going in on his own. When I got there, he was jammed in place and it took several minutes for us to move the wheelchair in ANY direction.

And let me repeat, we were trying to get into a facility that SPECIALIZES in helping people who are having problems like this.

I pointed out the sill issue to several people, including the doctor, so hopefully they'll take a look at it.

I was just one more adventure for the day, my father seems to spend a lot of time getting stuck in doorways with his wheelchair. Some aren't wide enough, and his aim isn't good enough to go through a narrow door.


AltheaP said...

Hooray for rants! It takes rants to excite the energy for change and attention that causes deserve!

Jennifer said...

Vent away...can't sign the petition but my energy is with you. It's tough sometimes deciding how much to let go on a blog, but sometimes you just havta :-)