What's Happening Up North?

People with Disabilities for Change (PDC), based in Duluth, is a grassroots advocacy group of people dedicated to making our community a better place to live. We do so by educating businesses regarding the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and by advocating for compliance. PDC works in concert with both state and local organizations to effect positive change.

We are people with all kinds of disabilities and other concerned individuals. Our first president was excited about a new federal law (the ADA) which would make achieving access easily within reach! We all discovered quickly that, with no one to enforce it, accomplishing compliance was tough.

We adopted this mission statement: “People with Disabilities for Change is a group dedicated to assisting people with disabilities. Businesses which may be in violation of the access requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act are made aware of the problem and of the need for compliance with the federal law. The goal in doing so is to provide persons with disabilities respect, dignity, and the quality of life afforded all individuals.”

Some things we’ve encouraged local businesses to do:

A restaurant repaired its outdoor ramp so it was a smooth path of travel.

A shopping mall put van-accessible handicapped parking spots in their newly-striped parking lot.

A medical office building installed four new ADA-compliant elevators.

 

Work in progress by People with Disabilities for Change:

We’ve been meeting regularly with city officials regarding: accessibility improvements being made in the City Hall building, curb cut requests, the Public Library’s needed access changes, and many other subjects.

We’re currently working with over twenty businesses to help them achieve compliance.

We write letters to businesses, call them, and make personal contact. Members of our group meet monthly to discuss access needs in our community and review our current advocacy efforts. Members are encouraged to fill out complaint forms to let our letter-writer know about the concern. We also offer technical assistance about ADA compliance. Our group is affiliated with the Center for Independent Living of Northeastern Minnesota and with North Country Independent Living in Superior, Wisconsin.