“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller
Friends of Access Press are offering a $10,000 challenge to Access Press readers, supporters and stakeholders. For every dollar you donate through September 30, 2019, Friends of Access Press will match 100 percent up to $10,000. This is an opportunity for you to make a difference twice over!
Access Press was first published in May 1990 by Charlie Smith to provide voice, accessibility news, and accessible information to the diverse community of Minnesotans with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities. It continues to be the most comprehensive information from the perspective of people with disabilities.
Your support is important for advancing the rights of people with disabilities through active engagement in community affairs, civil rights and efforts to gain equal access to employment, education, transportation, housing, social services, entertainment and the freedom to make independent choices. This is why Access Press needs your support to continue to be an active and informative voice in our community.
I am proud to serve on the Board of Access Press for the past three years. We have our challenges, as does any print media in an electronic age. But I believe our challenge is serving new populations, including those born after the ADA and those in the aging population learning to navigate life with a disability.
Last month I attended the 29th Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) anniversary celebration at Hamline University. Musician, singer, songwriter Gaelyn Lea performed. She is an incredible performer, but it is the words she spoke that resonated with me. She is not a researcher or statistician, but
she has access to people. She asks questions. She asked people who were born after the enactment of the ADA was enacted if disability was included in their school curriculum.
Most had not received any education about the ADA, the disability rights movement and disability culture in school. I also volunteer with adolescents hospitalized for diagnoses of psychiatric and other illnesses. These are young people who are familiar with medical terminology, individualized educational plans and living with a chronic condition. My job is actually to escort my therapy dog Steven on his rounds, but I’ve wondered what these young people know. I started asking them if their schools include any information about disability history, disability culture, or disability rights. Most have not had any disability topics in their education. One young woman learned about Deaf culture in her sign language class. There wasn’t much more.
On a personal level, I now talk more about disability. My conversations have gone beyond service dog training to talking about accessing college, acknowledging disability as part of our diversity, and learning about the Americans with Disabilities Act. While this reaches a few, Access Press reaches many.
We can do better! Please accept this challenge and keep Access Press as a voice for our community.
–Jane Larson, Treasurer, Access Press Board of Directors