Why Accessibility Matters At Marches


Editor's Note

This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

You may have noticed, especially in the past few years, that rallies, marches, and protests are becoming more and more common all across the nation. And that’s awesome! Saturday was the March for Our Lives, which was absolutely beautiful. Gun violence is a big issue in our country, and it was amazing to see so many folks, young and old, coming together to stand for what they believe (though we need to have some long conversations about what this means for people with mental illnesses and how screenings are to be handled, but that’s another conversation for another time). I wanted to be at my local rally, but I was having a crummy day and was laid up all afternoon with a raging migraine.

Last year I got to go to the March for Science in Hartford, which was an incredible event! There was the Women’s March in D.C. We had a local rally last year after Charlottesville. And a lot of others in between. These are all so amazing! But accessibility at these events is often subpar, or even non-existent, overlooked because the event isn’t focused on disability rights. Like… I hear ya, but here’s the deal. Literally all issues intersect disability. We are the largest minority — we’re 20 percent of you! Excluding us from events, even unintentionally, keeps a huge swath of folks from being heard. Plus, disabled folks are statistically more likely to be the victims of things like abuse, gun violence, and life-threatening effects of climate change than our abled counterparts. We need to have our voices heard, our witty signs read, our numbers counted.

Inaccessibility can be a lot of things, from impassable terrain for those who use a wheelchair or struggle with stability, to locations that don’t have disability accessible bathrooms, to having speakers without ASL interpreters, and so much more. As I’ve said about 1,000 times by now, “at some point inaccessibility becomes willful exclusion and discrimination.” So when you’re putting together your next rally or march for an amazing cause, please don’t forget us. Doing good that blatantly excludes disabled people isn’t really so fantastic. It’s actually kinda garbage! Make your events accessible. It’s totally doable. We are deserving of having our voices heard. We are a vital, beautiful and equally important piece of the societal puzzle. Let us be by your side, as you are by ours, and together we can affect change for all, not just for the privileged.

This story originally appeared on WorkShark.

Getty image by Awakened Eye.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Disability

Brandon practicing jiu jitsu.

Learning Self-Defense and Self-Protection When You Have a Disability

Your life matters. Your health matters. Your happiness matters. You want to know what else matters? Your safety. We have a plan of what to do when we get sick; we go to the doctor. If you want to be healthy and fit there are numerous ways for us to become the healthiest we can [...]
Movie camera, director's chair and slate.

How Easterseals and Variety Are Challenging Hollywood to Include People With Disabilities

Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. “When we talk about diversity, we need to include disability.” This was the message last week at the beginning of Variety’s A Night in the Writers Room, an event aimed at educating and providing writers [...]
Silhouette of little girl holding father's hand.

What Father's Day Means to Me as a Daughter With a Disability

I believe Father’s Day should be an extra special day for biological fathers and their children, because you are reminded of how he helped you through the ups and downs of the year. But that isn’t the case for all families. Some biological father-child relationships are never formed, never forgotten or only exist on a [...]
Taxi sign in U.K.

The Challenges of Hailing a Taxi as a Wheelchair User

When you need a taxi but the company can’t provide an accessible taxi, what is the solution? Where I live in the U.K., there are two primary taxi companies. Both no longer seem to provide taxis after 10 p.m. and no one is able to pre-book an accessible taxi more than an hour in advance. While this is [...]