From Fax Machines to E-Newsletters: The Evolution of Community Organizing with Access Press

Access Press was founded in 1990 and exists to promote the social inclusion and civil rights of people with disabilities […]

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Access Press was founded in 1990 and exists to promote the social inclusion and civil rights of people with disabilities by providing a forum for news, features and commentary to benefit people who are often invisible and marginalized in mainstream society.

Access Press is also meant to serve as a resource for people with disabilities, their family members, employers, advocacy groups and other allies. We are Disability 101 for many people.

In 1990, we didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have social media. Having a fax machine was a big deal. Community organizing took the form of phone trees – when we’d call an assigned list of people and give an update. Or we had newsletters and later, newspapers.

Access Press was one of a group of neighborhood and community newspapers in the Twin Cities that became nationally known. We were among the first nonprofit newspapers in the country. Our newspapers were founded to cover issues important to specific urban neighborhoods, to BIPOC communities and in the case of Access Press, to the disability community.

I have edited community papers for most of my career. I remember when community leaders would actually schedule neighborhood meetings and events around our deadlines, so that the news would be on peoples’ doorsteps and on newsstands. Those days are long gone.

A monthly print edition serves our group of readers. So does sharing our content online. But in this day and age, that isn’t enough.

We are starting e-newsletters, for general news and for health news. They’re free and I hope you consider signing up for them. We’re working on the technology needed to allow for e-newsletter signup and will roll that out soon.

We’d like to be able to expand the e-newsletters to other coverage areas, to serve as a provider of news and information beyond what we can do in a monthly newspaper.

That will take resources. Paid sponsorships will be available.

We also want to direct folks to our online events calendar. It is free for Minnesota focused events, with disability accommodations. Just go to our home page at, click on the listings tab and then toggle down to where you can post an event. Remember that this is for events, classes, conferences and other activities, not for commercial sales or classified ads.

And list those accommodations! Those can make a difference as to whether or not our readers can attend.
Be aware, too, that hackers are everywhere. Please don’t be offended if Scott, our content manager, or I contact you about a listing to see if it is valid.

Happy reading and stay tuned as we plan and roll out these changes.

  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself & others from the COVID-19 virus."
  • "Stay safe, Minnesota. Take steps to protect yourself, & others from the COVID-19 virus."

Mental Wellness